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A2-Type / Typewriter

A2-Type wins the Grand Prix from the Tokyo TDCNovember 27, 2015

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A2-Type partners, Henrik Kubel and Scott Williams win the Grand Prix from the Tokyo TDC for the suite of custom typefaces they designed for the relaunch of The New York Times Magazine. A2’s comprehensive typographic system isn’t the only new lettering on view, the magazine’s design director, Gail Bichler commissioned Matthew Carter to re-draw the masthead, adding a new and masterly air of lightness and modernity to the heraldic blackletter forms.

The magazine’s editor, Jake Silverstein, wrote about the relaunch in February, ‘Just as crucial to this latest reimagining of The New York Times Magazine as the print makeover is the idea that it shouldn’t be confined to print. In the next year, you’ll be seeing more of us outside the bundle that lands on your doorstep on weekend mornings.’ Read the article in full here.

The redesign has translated beautifully from the printed page to the magazine’s website – A2’s typographic system can be seen in full in every feature – from mouse type to headlines.

New release: Grotzec MoreOctober 30, 2015

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Grotzec More, designed by Mário Feliciano, is a companion to Grotzec Condensed. It includes three new condensed styles of the Grotzec family: Grotzec X-Condensed Bold, Grotzec Narrow Bold and Grotzec X-Narrow Bold. All three styles are also available as single weights.

See more of Grotzec More & its companion, Grotzec Condensed here & here

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!

New release: Frauen, designed by Lucas SharpSeptember 24, 2015

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Frauen is our ode to German calligraphy. The script style is based on some lettering I found on the cover of an almanac of Berlin debutantes published in 1945 titled, Die shönsten Frauen der Welt (The Most Beautiful Women in the World).

The 1945 almanac of Berlin debutantes that inspired Frauen, ‘Die schönsten Frauen der Welt’

The Roman is partially based on the calligraphy of Friedrich Neugebauer, and partly my own creation. Frauen Roman and Script share a common weight, x-height, and nib angle, and when used together behave as if the same unabashedly German calligrapher penned them both in the same sitting. As such, the uppercase and lowercase of each style can be used interchangeably with one-another.

Take a look at Frauen’s design, features & details here

New release: Proof, designed by Hanno BennertJuly 27, 2015

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Proof, designed by Hanno Bennert, is a new release in our Incubator foundry.

The design of Proof (formerly known as Tram) has its origins in many tram rides in Düsseldorf, Germany, and is directly influenced by the powerful, industrial charm of these vehicles. Many of the early sketches were drawn on these rides. (For the first several years of its life, the typeface was called ‘Tram’; alas, our friend and colleague Henrik Kubel at A2-Type had already published his CPH Tram, and we did not wish to create any confusion in the marketplace between these two vastly different designs.)

Proof developed into a sturdy and compact sans-serif which balances a constructed, technical feel, squarish superellipse forms with subtle but dynamic stroke modulation and angled stroke terminals harking to wayfinding types. Hanno incorporated humanist elements as well as features of classic grotesks, and he hopes to have retained some of the warmth of those old types.

New release: The Sharp Sans SupersetMay 7, 2015

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Sharp Sans No. 1 was Lucas Sharp’s first release through Village, and it debuted in the Incubator. Sharp Sans injects some much needed humanism into the Futura model. With its sheared terminals and true italics (in Sharp Sans No.1), Sharp Sans combines the appealing typographic compensation of the grotesque, with the plump circular bowls of the geometric. The result is a typeface suited for both text & display use that breathes life into the genre of the geometric sans.

THE SHARP SANS SUPERSET IS COMPRISED OF TWO FEATURE-RICH 20-FONT FAMILIES

Although Sharp Sans originated as an act of loving homage to the geometric sans serifs of the nineteen seventies, it eventually grew to encompass a thorough body of styles, all teetering on the cusp of the geometric and the grotesque.

As Sharp Sans evolved, different forms & ideas began taking sides. Some belonged in a more rigid, apollonian universe, while others seemed to be finding a bit of organic aliveness within their geometric framework. As the differences in style became more & more defined, the project was eventually split into two distinct 20-font superfamilies.

Read more here & here

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

Typographica’s Best of 2014: Cooper HewittMarch 19, 2015

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On December 12, 2014, the Cooper Hewitt reopened its collections to the public, equipped with a new corporate design by Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and a custom typeface by Chester Jenkins, cofounder of Brooklyn-based Village. This new typeface rightfully bears the name of its owner — yet it is not exclusive, but available for free.

When taking a first close look at Cooper Hewitt: The Typeface, one cannot deny its strong family resemblance to Jenkins’ typeface Galaxie Polaris, specifically the condensed weights, released back in 2008 under the Constellation label at Village. This connection is rooted in the design process and an exchange between Opara and Jenkins. Polaris’ condensed weight was in favor for the museum’s new branding at first — with slight adaptations and adjustments — and soon Jenkins was commissioned to execute some of the “tweaking” himself. Ultimately the regular weight was too wide and the condensed seemed too narrow; a semi-condensed (beta version) resolved the matter rather swiftly. It seems likely that Jenkins would have continued to work on that font data; in an interview with Stephanie Murg, however, he pointed out that Cooper Hewitt was drawn entirely from scratch with Polaris merely serving as a rough guide.

A significant stylistic detail of Cooper Hewitt lies within the straight horizontal and vertical stroke endings (versus the angled terminals in Polaris). This modification becomes apparent most notably in a c e or s. Jenkins added straight segments to all letters with round shapes, a feature that provides an elegant feel overall (apparently this made the drawing of the italics “a nightmare”). Cooper Hewitt and Polaris share the same width in most letters (except for M and W); the tail in Q was changed to a straight stroke crossing the bowl, which is much more adequate for a static sans serif.

One of the important characteristics of this quality typeface is its availability as a free download; files for print, for web, and as open source code can be obtained through the museum’s website. In reference to the Latin proverbs e pluribus unum and ex uno plures, Eddie Opara pointed out in a talk at the Greene Space WNYC that “the premise was to define a system as one and then allow the public to take it and use it the way they want”. Consequently, the type’s admission into Cooper Hewitt’s permanent collection was followed by its accessibility, encouraging the public to use and experience it.

This may not be the first concept of its kind, yet it is unusual and brave for custom type and it is rightfully a noteworthy face of 2014. Cooper Hewitt: The Typeface is a serious contemporary interpretation of the static sans serif with very little fuss. With the reopening of the museum — to the day 112 years after Andrew Carnegie and his family moved into the mansion — its typeface not only marks the institution’s visual identity, but is conceived as an artifact that “belongs to the people”.

Read the review on Tyopgraphica