Village

Klim

Klim / Domaine Sans Display

Beauty: Cooper Hewitt Design TriennialFebruary 12, 2016

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Kris Sowersby of Klim has an impressive installation of his work in Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial. An impressive and well-earned achievement.

Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial is the fifth installment of the museum’s signature contemporary design exhibition series. With a focus on aesthetic innovation, Beauty celebrates design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body, and senses. Curated by Andrea Lipps, Assistant Curator, and Ellen Lupton, Senior Curator of Contemporary Design, the exhibition features more than 250 works by 63 designers and teams from around the globe, and is organized around seven themes: extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental, and transformative.

Klim’s, Domaine Sans Display, is featured on the cover of the exhibition catalogue

The exhibition is installed on the first and third floors of the museum and offers an immersive, multisensory experience that guides the visitor through a dramatic procession of the individual works. With projects ranging from experimental prototypes and interactive games to fashion ensembles and architectural interventions, Beauty presents works of astonishing form and surprising function while examining the essential question: “Why beauty now?”

Kris Sowersby of Klim receives The John Britten Black PinOctober 9, 2015

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The Designers Institute in New Zealand hosts the Best Awards, and every year one recipient is given The John Britten Black Pin. This is the highest award given by the Designers Institute and celebrates an individual who has achieved significant success in the field of design both nationally and internationally.

Kris Sowersby received this prestigious award in 2015 in recognition for his exceptional body of work to date. Congratulations and kia ora, Kris!

Typographica’s Best of 2014: Domaine SansMarch 19, 2015

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Mark Simonson writes: I’m astonished by how quickly Kris Sowersby went from being a young wannabe on Typophile (where I first became aware of him a little over ten years ago) to becoming one of the most talented type designers working today. Domaine Sans is the latest in his growing list of handsome and well-made fonts.

The most fertile field in type design over the last decade or two has been the sans serif. But one subset that has been relatively neglected — the thick-and-thin sans serif — has seen some resurgence lately. Domaine Sans is a distinctive new addition in this small but growing subgenre.

You can get more detail on its backstory here, but he stumbled onto the idea when he lopped off the serifs of his earlier Latin-styled serif face Domaine. What he ended up with is basically a higher-contrast version of the classic nineteenth-century British Grotesque, but it’s not a straight-up revival. It’s more of a hybrid, taking historical models as a starting point for something new and different.

The display cuts take contrast to an extreme. With most types of this genre, the thin strokes are usually terminated with flairs, or even balls. But with Domaine Sans, they stay thin. This is tricky to pull off; Sowersby does it by curving the strokes inward, and I think this works well. The display cuts are incredibly beautiful. I especially like the script-like italic, complete with swash caps. They seem well tailored as an alternative to Didot for fashion magazines. In fact, the pre-release version has already seen this type of use.

As nice as the display cuts are, I think the text cut is more interesting and probably more useful. When I look at it, it seems like a face that must have already existed, except it didn’t. It has a sturdy, traditional look with a lot of character and appeal. The italic is a bit eccentric for a sans serif (especially those ‘x’s), but I really like it. I can easily see it as a more stylish alternative to Franklin Gothic.

Yet another new type release that makes me I wish I were still an art director!

Read the review on Typographica

New release: Domaine Sans SupersetNovember 9, 2014

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The Domaine Sans Superset, designed by Kris Sowersby of Klim, is a trio of contrast sans serif typefaces. Kris Sowersby writes: ‘Domaine delved into the unpopular Latin typeface genre. Domaine Sans is an exploration into another unpopular genre of typefaces: sans serifs with contrast. Sans serif typefaces with contrast are not very common these days. I suspect the spectre of Optima hampers their use. In my opinion, it’s the first cogent typeface with contrast. I think Optima is a wonderful typeface, but anecdotal evidence suggests it’s still quite divisive amongst graphic designers.’

Klim’s Domaine Superset, four individual typefaces, was published in 2013

Domaine Sans follows the similar structural logic as Domaine. Domaine Sans Display and Fine have exuberant detail and high contrast, whereas Domaine Sans Text is more robust and pragmatic for extended text setting. The Display and Fine Italic styles have swash caps alternates for all uppercase letters.

Typecache’s 20 Best of 2013 picksMay 14, 2014

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Typecache has named six Village releases — Balto, the Domaine Superset, the Brooklyn Superset, Odesta, Ogg and Superior Title to their 20 Favorites fonts of 2013 (out of 550 new releases they featured in 2013.)

Typecache writes: ‘There were more than 550 new releases announced last year on TYPECACHE! So, it took us some time to review all of the great work from last year. We created another roundup of what we regard as the great typefaces from 2013.’

See all 20 Typecache picks here

Typographica’s Best of 2013: Founders Grotesk TextMarch 12, 2014

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Christian Palino writes: Aria di rivoluzione — those were the words that first made me swoon. Those shoulders! That ‘a’! Tight apertures! As I turned the pages of Il Magazine (filled with the skillful typography of Francesco Franchi), I fell in love.

Founders Grotesk is one of those faces that simul­taneously seems like it has always existed and has never been seen before. It has become hard to expect anything less from Kris Sowersby, who turns out to be The Blues Brothers of revivals — resurrecting entire movements to create something new and unique. Sowersby’s approach to Founders Grotesk, initially inspired by a 1912 Miller & Richard specimen, involved careful curation of various century-old grots. Originally designed for display usage with tight letter spacing, when the typeface was first put to work at text sizes in The Weekend Herald, and ultimately in Il Magazine, Sowersby found that it did not hold up well. Fortunately for us, this led him to design Founders Grotesk Text.

What is exceptional and evident in the Text faces is that they are not simply redrawn and re-spaced letters for improved readability at smaller sizes, but often quirkier letterforms that help to translate the chari­sma of the big, beautiful display weights into text — all without feeling overly precious or distracting. Bellissima!

See the review on Typographica.org.

Typographica’s Best of 2013: DomaineMarch 12, 2014

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John Boardley writes: Kris Sowersby’s Domaine family has its origins in a logotype for the Australian wine company, Hardys. I am an unabashed fan of Sowersby’s work. He is an exceptional type designer, one who has a particularly acute sense of what good type should look like.

In Domaine Text and Domaine Display, he has again extruded the very best elements from a number of cross-genre exemplars. Never aping, but mindfully deconstructing, then distilling only the best elements, the choicest ingredients into something purer, something new; and above all, and most crucially, something eminently usable. With Domaine, the gradation of weights from Light through Black is pitch perfect; the contrast, especially in the heavier weights, spot on. Yet, despite the evident technical prowess, there is still flourish and flare, though it never descends into affected flamboyance.

The so-called Latin types are an unusual genre. It’s quite a challenge to take this style as a starting point and proceed to make something unified and useful out of it — something that has a use beyond a quirky, multi-word headline. The Latin letterforms have their charm, but sometimes they verge on ugliness at worst, and ungainliness at best.

Sowersby was able to reign in or pacify the genre by taking cues from the Scotch Romans, but without surrendering some of the charm, including the sump­tuous curlicue fish-hook terminals. Perhaps it’s just me, but in the narrow and condensed Romans the flavor of the Latin exemplars shines through a little more.

Domaine is Sowersby’s largest family to date, compris­ing 46 fonts. But it is so much more than an impressive range of styles; it’s what good type should look like.

See the review on Typographica.org.

New Release: Founders Grotesk MonoFebruary 11, 2014

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Founders Grotesk Mono, designed by Kris Sowersby of Klim, rounds out the Founders Grotesk Superset: Founders Grotesk, Condensed, X-Condensed, and Text. As the name suggests it is “monospaced”, each letter takes up exactly the same amount of horizontal space. Like Pitch it is a “10-pitch” typeface: at 10 point it will fit 10 letters to the inch. For more information about monospacing, please read Pitch’s design information.

Founders Grotesk Mono

TNW / Best of 2013December 22, 2013

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Sean Manning of TNW included three Village releases in his Best of 2013 picks.

See more over at TNW

Designing NewsNovember 25, 2013

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We can’t wait to get our hands on a copy of this book! In addition to featuring Kris Sowersby’s Domaine throughout, Designing News showcases and analyses some of the best news publication going today.

Village member Christian Schwartz designed the logotype for IL magazine

Francesco Franchi details his extraordinary work for Il Sole 24 Ore, where he’s been the Art Director since 2008. Mr. Franchi has worked with village members, Kris Sowersby and Christian Schwartz on the logotype and typographic programme for IL magazine.

Klim’s Tiempos and Founders Grotesk at work in IL magazine

As Mr Franchi’s site notes, ‘In Designing News, award-winning editorial and infographics designer Francesco Franchi conveys his vision for the future of the news and media industries. He evaluates the fundamental changes that are taking place in our digital age in terms of consumer expectations and the way media is being used. The book then outlines the challenges that result and proposes strategies for traditional publishing houses, broadcasting companies, journalists, and designers to address them.’

New release: Domaine supersetSeptember 30, 2013

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Kris Sowersby developed the Domaine superset for Parallax Design Studio in Adelaide Australia. Parallax was charged to rebrand The Hardy Wine Company. ‘The new brand identity for Hardys takes inspiration from trade-cuts and early letterheads held within the company’s archives’ dating back from the company’s origins in 1853.

See Domaine here

Typographica on PitchMarch 13, 2013

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Carolina de Bartolo reviews Pitch

Unfortunately, there is not much I could tell you about the design of the riveting new typewriter face called Pitch that Kris Sowersby has not already published in his extensive process notes.

That being the case, I’ll spare you the repetition and go directly off on an idiosyncratic tangent.

First, a brief homage to the typewriter:
Like the bicycle, the typewriter played a remarkably important role in women’s liberation. Wikipedia informs me (with ‘citation needed’) that according to the 1910 US census, 81% of the women who entered the workforce began their careers as typists. Fans of the popular television series Downton Abbey will recall the storyline of the redheaded housemaid, Ms Gwen, who is secretively learning to type via correspondence course in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a secretary.

Read the rest of the review on Typographica

New Release: Founders Grotesk TextJanuary 22, 2013

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Founders Grotesk was initially designed for headlines, but upon its first outing—in a newspaper—it was used at text sizes and performed rather poorly. The lighter weights were serviceable at best, but far from ideal. The bolder weights veer pretty close to disaster, almost clogging up completely. Perhaps with a bit of letterspacing and better printing it would only just be passable.

When Francesco Franci used Founders Grotesk (and Tiempos) for his wonderful redesign of IL: it was simply failing at text sizes with sub-optimal printing conditions. After discussing our options we decided the best fix was to make a text version of Founders Grotesk.

Read more

New Release: PitchApril 1, 2012

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With a legacy of functionality, romance and literary seriousness, writers and journalists used typewriters to great effect. No formatting, no typographic styling: just the writer and their words. It’s a humble, beautiful object, a representation of mechanical refinement and industrial design. It is an honest machine, it does exactly what you tell it.

The honest aesthetic of the typewritten text these writing machines produce is wonderful. I wanted to capture this particular aesthetic with Pitch. The aesthetics of typewritten text are largely due to three things: monospacing, type style, and the artefacts of struck paper.

Read more

Typographca on CalibreJanuary 25, 2012

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Carolina de Bartolo reviews Calibre (and Metric, by proxy)

Ever since I learned how to tell the difference between the lowercase ‘a’ in Helvetica versus the lowercase ‘a’ in Univers, I’ve been cultivating my ability to identify even the most similar of typefaces by this single letter.

The skill has its advantages: 1) An ‘a’ is a common letter, so even a small quantity of text is likely to contain one; 2) Lowercase ‘a’ is often a rather distinctive letterform in a typeface, so it requires only a small fraction of my visual memory to retain a great number of them; and, lastly but importantly, 3) It’s impressive. Much like those contestants on the TV program ‘Name That Tune’ who could identify a song in one note, I can often identify a typeface by one letter. If only this magnificent skill helped me make new friends at parties, I’d be all set.

However, there are a few faces that render my typeface identification abilities rather underwhelming. Calibre is one of them. The lowercase ‘a’ in this typeface is so distinctive and unlike any other in its category that anyone would recognize it in a second. I must admit, it was not an ‘a’ I loved easily. But as I’ve been setting the face quite a lot in the last few months as a typesetting consultant for WIRED magazine’s redesign, it’s grown on me. Now it seems like anything other than this quirky little ‘a’ would leave the face flat and colorless and, possibly, far too similar to others of its genre.

Read more on Typographica

New Release: Metric & CalibreMay 19, 2011

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Metric & Calibre are a pair of typefaces that share a fundamental geometry yet differ in the finish of key letterforms. Metric is a geometric humanist, sired by West Berlin street signs. Calibre is a geometric neo-grotesque, inspired by the rationality of Aldo Novarese’s seldom seen Recta. They were conceived as a pair but function independently of each other.

The development of Metric & Calibre is based upon two ideas—1: ‘engineered geometry’ and its application to street signage, 2: alternate letterforms in typefaces.

Read more

Eye Magazine / Kris Sowersby profileApril 15, 2011

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In the past few years the Klim Type Foundry has released a succession of finely crafted typefaces that have been as notable for their range and engagement with typographic history as for their immaculate execution. Klim is the work of one man, Kris Sowersby, a young New Zealander with a prodigious talent for drawing letters.

Sowersby, born in 1981, is largely self-taught as a type designer. He studied graphic design at Whanganui School of Design in New Zealand, graduating in 2003, and typeface design was just one module. But he was already in love with letterforms, and in 2005 the Klim Type Foundry was born. Its first commercial release was the curvaceous Feijoa (2007), followed by National (also 2007), a vivid grotesque that delves deep into pre-Akzidenz history for inspiration yet comes out with a remarkably assured lightness of touch. National captured the spirit of the moment, winning a certificate of excellence from the Type Designers Club in New York in 2008. A slightly revised version is currently in preparation, along with Condensed and X-Condensed variants.

By this time Sowersby had also developed custom typefaces that would themselves win TDC certificates of excellence and a new degree of exposure — in particular Serrano and Hardys (for the wine-producer) — as well as wordmarks. In 2008 he released Newzald, an accomplished interpretation of the work of Fleischman and Rosart, which was featured, with National, as a guest typeface in Eye 72), and later the mellifluous Karbon (2009), a reading of modernist essays into pared-back type, through which influences run deep without ever surfacing in direct quotation.

Read more on Eye magazine’s blog…

Eye Magazine: Sentimental Journey reviewApril 4, 2011

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Exquisite discourse: Poet meets graphic artist meets type designer, and the consequence is…

A graphic artist and a typeface designer, working blind to each other, design two-word typographic postcards illustrating a poet’s turn of phrase, writes Hamish Thompson.

There were many serendipities, say Sarah Maxey and Kris Sowersby. The process used to create the twenty typographic postcards in the Sentimental Journey set is reminiscent of the game of drawing creatures in a relay (also known as ‘Consequences’ or ‘Exquisite Corpse’) with the part you’ve added folded over so the next person can’t see what you’ve done. The results that I recall were mostly absurd, sometimes hilarious.

Turn that process over to poet Kate Camp, graphic artist Maxey and typeface designer Sowersby, and the result is quite extraordinary. From the title page: ‘Kate chose twenty phrases of two words, and splitting them, she shipped half to Sarah and half to Kris. Sarah and Kris worked independently on their respective words, only revealing them to each other at the end of the project. No changes have been made to them since.’ The postcards are sold as a limited edition set. As Sarah Maxey says: ‘There’s one to suit any occasion. Although I haven’t had reason to send out “Screw you”. Yet.’

Read more on Eye magazine’s* blog…

New Release: Sentimental Journey postcardsMarch 22, 2011

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Kate Camp is a poet. Sarah Maxey is a graphic artist. Kris Sowersby is a typeface designer. Kate chose 20 phrases of two words, & splitting them, she sent half to Sarah & half to Kris. Sarah & Kris worked independently on their respective words, only revealing them to each other at the end of the project. No changes or adjustments have been made to them since. This is the result, entitled Sentimental Journey.

Limited edition of 500. Printed by Freestyle Total Print in Wellington, New Zealand, 2011, on 300gsm Munken Pure

Read more

New Release: Founders Grotesk Condensed & X-CondensedJanuary 15, 2011

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Kris Sowersby adds two condensed variants to his excellent Founders Grotesk, expanding it into a highly useful superset.

Typographers have always found narrow widths of sans serifs extremley useful for display work. Founders Grotesk Condensed and X-Condensed are natural companions to the regular widths. They are influenced by the curiously-named Miller & Richard Sans-Serif No.5 series. Of particular note are the square inner counters that contrast nicely with the warm outer curves.

New Release: Tiempos Text & HeadlineMay 10, 2010

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Tiempos was initiated as an optimisation of Galaxie Copernicus for a Spanish newspaper redesign. Although it began as an offshoot of Galaxie Copernicus, Tiempos evolved far enough that it became its own standalone family. Copernicus is based on Plantin, it’s broad proportions are designed to harmonise with Chester Jenkins’ Galaxie system. Over the last century, Plantin has influenced many typefaces, the most notable example is Stanley Morison’s Times New Roman.

These days Times New Roman is much maligned. It’s easy to dismiss due to it’s ubiquity — being the default for a decade sunk it to the depths of bureaucratic banality. Which is unfortunate, for when it comes to the twin tenets of newspaper typography — economy and legibility — it still performs admirably. As Tiempos had to fulfill these same tenets, it was natural to look towards Morison’s classic Times New Roman, a forefather of modern newspaper typefaces.

Read more

New Release: Founders GroteskMay 3, 2010

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The impetus for Founders Grotesk originally came from Duncan Forbes of The International Office. We had often discussed the nature and usefulness of the classic grotesks, and the possibility of creating a new one. After trawling through my 1912 Miller & Richard specimen, he became enamoured with their series of Grotesques, particularly the No.7 all-caps showing.

Grotesque No.7, Miller & Richard, 1912

He noted the appealing rudimentary geometry, the serpentine S, and the narrow but welcome aperture of the C and G. Even though I was aware of these styles, I hadn’t considered their possibility for contemporary interpretation. As Duncan is an excellent graphic designer, he saw potential in the Grotesques. I have learned that graphic designers see typefaces differently to type designers—it is wise to take note when their interest is piqued.

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FPO on Klim's Type SpecimenMarch 11, 2010

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Klim’s type specimen gets a rave review on FPO:

There is probably nothing dorkier to an outside viewer than a graphic designer looking at every single page of a type specimen catalog… I mean, who in their right mind obsesses about non-sensical text laid out in a bunch of different sizes? We do. And it’s awesome. Especially when it’s well done and when the typefaces are fabulous. The case exactly with this generous type specimen book from New Zealand’s type prodigy, Kris Sowersby, who runs the Klim Type Foundry where he creates proprietary type families for clients like the Bank of New Zealand and American Express, as well as designing retail type families like National and Galaxie Copernicus.

Read more on FPO

New Release: Karbon & Karbon Slab StencilDecember 25, 2009

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Karbon is an open, geometric sans serif with a contemporary spartan finish. It is an exploration of Paul Renner’s reductionist Futura concept channelled through the proportions of Eric Gill’s eponymous sans, with a slight nod towards Jan Tschichold’s Uhertype sans-serif.

Typographica on HardysApril 7, 2009

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Duncan Forbes reviews Hardys

This review was written before Hardys was available commercially. It has since been revised, renamed (Domaine) and expanded into a gorgeously rich Superset containing:
Domaine Text
Domaine Display
Domaine Display Narrow
Domaine Display Condensed

We want our book covers and art catalogues to have a marked unevenness, a tension with subtleties that start to pierce your eyes with the sharpness of a Baroque knife but end with terminals like the middle-aged spread of a Dutch comedian.

We need these subtleties, they are the spirit of the time mixed with the spirit of our time. Warm? Sure, but not an attack of the friendlies. Even in the bold, where it has more prominence, it keeps a low contrast grounding. And what of the figures you say? Oh, the figures. They are less restrained than the letters, a youthful experiment. Indeed, a beautiful collection of letters.

This is what we want, but can not have. No. Not yet.

Read more on Typographica

Typographica on NewzaldApril 4, 2009

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John Boardley reviews Newzald

Inspired by the very best of the Dutch types, it is however, no redrawing or revival. All too often, types with such distinguished pedigrees make recourse to bells and whistles, to incongruous embellishments, in an effort to differentiate themselves from their forebears. Newzald shuns these in favour of refinement, clarity, and sobriety, alloyed with a maniac’s attention to detail, and spacing.

When Sowersby describes Newzald as ‘a text typeface [of] economical rigour’, he’s spot on. It’s economical without ever feeling claustrophobic; and rigourous without coming off as overbearing or overly dark in colour.

Read more on Typographica

Typographica's Best of 2007: NationalMarch 9, 2008

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Duncan Forbes reviews National

National is the second typeface released by klim within a year and has been termed a revival of the 19th century English and American grotesks.

While there is a hint of grotesk, it does not simply copy but is truly a reflection of the present — type made in and for the digital age (of course!).

Read more on Typographica

Typographica on FeijoaMarch 5, 2008

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Yves Peters reviews Feijoa

It’s been fascinating to witness the blooming of Latin type designers these past few years. There is some amazing stuff happening in Spain, Portugal and their once colonies across the Atlantic, as if a whole generation of type designers has come of age during the last decade. One thing their serif and script designs share is a pronounced sensuality.

So it was quite surprising to discover Feijoa, a new text face hailing from the other side of the world that displayed that same trait in its forms. Its most distinctive feature is the almost complete absence of straight lines, which makes for a warm and sensuous design. Those gently curved straights and rounded corners lend the design a beautiful organic, almost calligraphic quality. Yet there is nothing frivolous to the typeface, it all is functional and looks very self-assured.

Read more on Typographica

TDC2 2008: NationalFebruary 27, 2008

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National was a winning entry in the category of Type System / Superfamily. It also received the distinction of Judge’s Choice, chosen by esteemed type designer, Sara Soskolne.

Read more at tdc.org

Welcome: KlimJuly 14, 2007

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Klim type foundry joins Village, lauching with Kris Sowersby’s debut typeface, Feijoa!

Feijoa was conceived by the principle that a straight line is a dead line, explaining the warm, curvaceous nature of the individual letterforms. This design principle humanises the overall impression of Feijoa, relieving it from the sharp points and angles that can be detrimental to digital typefaces.

Typer / Calibre

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