Constellation / Cosmica


Cosmica is Chester Jenkins’ first new publication in 5 years. During that time, he has been working with members of Village to prepare their types for release, and has produced several bespoke types for clients, many of which can be seen here.

Cosmica started life in mid-2014 as an exploration into taking the Galaxie skeleton — already fleshed out as Polaris, Cassiopeia, and Copernicus — and applying its rules of construction to a geometric sans.

In recent years I had been called on by a few clients to develop geometric sans types, including a revival of Futura for Maharam, and a collaboration with Magnus Rakeng on the types for the Norwegian Airports authority, Avinor, and felt that it was time to bring the compass back home and apply it to my own work.

My earlier designs, notably Apex and Polaris, were often labeled as “superellipse” designs. This was a term I did not know until it was thrown in my direction. According to Wolfram MathWorld “A superellipse is a curve with the following Cartesian equation….”

Because the curves of Apex and Polaris do not perfecty reflect the above equation, they are in fact “rectellipses”, meaning that their curves are defined by unequal vertical and horizontal dimensions.

Imperfect, in a word, and definitely not to be confused with “squircles”.

Cosmica abandons the rectellipse, tiptoes around the squircle, and adheres closely to the rules of geometric type constuction. But not too closely, unsurprisingly.

As is often the case with my published designs, the work on Cosmica was done in fits and starts over a period of years, when time was available and inspiration struck. Polaris V3.5 was released in mid-2013, while I was in the throes of the Korscript project for Michael Kors — a chaining contextual alternate lookup behemoth which was in development for nearly the better part of a year. Also at this time, I was concentrating very heavily on making the Cooper Hewitt typeface for the Smithsonian with Eddie Opara and team at Pentagram.

Once those projects were delivered, in mid-2104, I did some initial exploratory work on turning Polaris into something else.

Uppercase — Top Row: Polaris / Bottom Row: Cosmica
Lowercase — Top Row: Polaris / Bottom Row: Cosmica

Some other long- and short-term projects came up towards the end of the year, and I couldn’t return to Cosmica until right at the end of 2015, when a quick blast resulted in many other over-arching details coming into focus. This is also when I decided on the name.

A few more steps along the progression from Polaris to Cosmica

2016 saw another pair of large projects, most notably the revival of Frederic Goudy’s “lost” Sherman type for Syracuse University with Michael Bierut and his team at Pentagram. Another custom type project has taken up most of 2017, and while it has been delivered, the client has not launched it yet. (When they do, I will update this page.)

Once the large bulk of that project was released in the autumn of 2017, I put my head down and got to work on finally finishing Cosmica: Curves tightened up in C G & S; stem-to-bowl joins went smooth; G & t grew tails; a & e lost width…

Most of my type designs are original works rather than historical recreations; I usually don’t reference existing designs, and when I do, I rely upon my memories rather than outlines of existing fonts. In the case of Cosmica, the design was created for its own sake, not as a client commission but as a way to revisit my own catalogue and extend the range of what I had already explored and made.

Version History

V18.010—Initial release; 2018.01

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