One thing that’s been helping us persevere through the pandemic: good type.
Every Tuesday we spotlight a new typeface release. Here are four of our favorites from the past month—plus a project that has rallied the international type community around a vital cause.
Stay tuned to PRINT for the latest.
This month, type designer Nadine Chahine debuted a brilliant project to bring aid to her native Beirut following the devastating blast that killed more than 177 and left an estimated 300,000 homeless.
In just one week, Chahine curated Li Beirut, a typeface composed of more than 300 glyphs drawn by 157 designers.
“To show support and solidarity for the people of Beirut, the international type design community has come together to create a typeface that would raise funds to support the victims of the blast and the reconstruction efforts,” Chahine writes in the project’s Indiegogo. “The font includes decorative isolated Arabic letters and Latin capitals, as well as Arabic numerals and a few symbols, all in one font file, together symbolizing the solidarity of the international community with Beirut and its people.”
The list of contributors is a powerhouse of industry minds. Among them:
Wael Morcos (who released a typographic blanket to benefit Beirut last week)
Erik van Blokland
Petr van Blokland
Hannes von Doehren
As the campaign details, “The contributing designers wrote many messages of hope, and the overwhelming sentiment was a message to the people of Beirut: you are not alone, and we are with you. By contributing to this campaign, you are sending that message too.”
The Indiegogo includes two options: the Li Beirut font by itself, or a version that features a pack of goodies from the Karaky Printing Press in Beirut. The latter, Chahine writes, was important in its symbolism that Beirut carries on, and its presses will not stop.
Back the project here.
Sombra is a typeface that merits a closer look—and one that fully blossoms when you give it one. As the seven weights increase, the delicate Sombra Light gives way to Sombra Poster, where some of the face’s most colorful characters flourish in the form of robust terminals, hairline punctuation and more.
As the German foundry TypeMates details, Sombra “combines geometric structure with leafy, sharply swelling strokes and exaggerated incisions. … Somewhere between buildings and botany, Sombra finds balance in contrasts.”
A typeface that would indeed look good everywhere from packaging to editorial applications, Paul Eslage’s design also features 680 glyphs in each style.
With its policy of giving anyone top-shelf type for personal use—thus allowing designers to become intimately familiar with a font’s full range of capabilities before acquiring it for a commercial project—the Pangram Pangram foundry has always done things differently.
And their latest typeface is delightfully different.
Migra Serif, designed by Valerio Monopoli, is a quirky and beautiful face inspired by the features of migratory birds.
“Its weights span from an austere and elegant light cut to a hawkish and powerful black one,” the foundry writes. “Packed with a set of even more gestural italics and sundry special liga
tures, this typeface is guaranteed to add sparkle and grace to any of your designs.”
With eight Roman styles and eight italic styles, alongside 568 glyphs, our hearts are aflutter.
The W Type Foundry is on a self-professed mission to bring uncials back.
To resurrect the scripts—which were popular from the fourth to eighth centuries AD—the Chilean studio is brewing up some typographic alchemy.
As they write, “What comes to your mind if I say Architype, Geometric, Gaelic and Uncial? An impossible combination of features? An unrealistic setup of tastes as weird as your music list? Or some part of a joke told by your favorite comedian? Just chill and stick to the idea that [it’s] possible.”
On paper, the resulting typeface, Gallos, doesn’t seem like it should work. But then you get drawn in by Diego Aravena Silo and Salvador Rodríguez’s distinct ‘a,’ and you realize it does.
The typeface takes the form of two subfamilies: Gallos Uncial and Gallos Architype. Pops of quirk and personality find their way to the fore of the fonts, thanks to an ‘M,’ ’N,’ “W,’ ‘a,’ ‘m,’ ’n,’ ‘r,’ and ‘w’ unique to each.
“The Uncial script aspect [displays] the leaned ‘a’ with a closed bowl, and the classical geometric style [depicts] more conventional uppercase and lowercase letters ‘m’ and ‘n.’ The Architype [subfamily] is inspired by Paul Renner’s Architype model, thus the leaned ‘a’ has an open counter, the ‘r’ is composed by a stem and a dot, and the rest of the mentioned letters were built using square rational features. Both models are connected by classical Uncial features such as the curved stroke ‘e’ and curved shaft ‘t,’ and with Gaelic vibes which can be seen in uppercase and lowercase letters ‘K’ and ‘X.’”
Will it bring uncials back?
Still, we’re happy to see the results of the designers’ typographic time travels.
A couple weeks back, the type publisher Fontwerk launched—and today, we’re taking a closer look at Felix Braden’s Turbine, one of the label’s initial releases.
Fans of Braden’s work know that each of his typefaces has a name associated with water, and with Turbine, he sought to embrace the technical and mechanical aspects of it.
The distinct Neo-Grotesque features open apertures, low stroke contrast and, most notably, super-elliptical curves.
“This fine geometric feature (a mixture of ellipse and rectangle, also known as Lamé curve) has often been applied in architecture, urban planning, product and interior design, and its application exudes a friendly, approachable appearance,” Braden writes. “This type of design became particularly popular in the ’60s and ’70s, and this look and feel spills over into Turbine, giving it a little bit of a retro feel.”
That being said, the face’s angular curves (and low contrast) make it an ideal contender for contemporary applications such as web and app design.
Turbine is also international in nature: Operating across seven weights, it features 489 glyphs, supporting all Western, Eastern and Central European languages.
Check it out—and t
est it out—at Fontwerk.