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A2-Type / Typewriter

Award: D&AD Yellow Pencil AwardMay 23, 2014

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Village member foundry A2-Type won a 2014 Yellow Pencil award from D&AD for their lovely and comprehensive typographic programme for British newspaper The Independent.

A2 writes: ‘We designed a compact suite of inter-connected fonts that share the same underlying structure. In addition to the three master sets — serif, sans and condensed — we also crafted a complimentary hairline display font designed specifically for headlines that formed the inspiration for the paper’s masthead. The typefaces were crafted separately from the masthead however, and feature wide flared serifs and ‘ND’ ligatures.’

See more on D&AD’s site

New Release: KommissarMay 15, 2014

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Kommissar is Schwartzco’s latest — a streamlined sans in 3 widths, each with 7 weights: Kommissar, Kommissar Condensed, and Kommissar X-Condensed.

As part of his redesign of Fast Company, Florian Bachleda needed a condensed sans to complement the new general-purpose sans and slab families. Together, Florian and Christian Schwartz found a stripped down, flat-sided condensed sans in a German specimen book, with a distinctive ‘crotchless’ treatment for where the stems met the bowls in the lowercase. This family, called Vertikal and likely cut in the late 1920s, seemed to have some potential, but a quick digitization of a handful of characters showed that it was a little too dry and boring in layouts.

Florian and his design staff had come across the condensed styles of Paul Renner’s Plak, and asked if Christian and his design staff at Commercial Type might be able to synthesize a new condensed sans that had the distinctive traits of Vertikal, with no contrast and flat connections on the arches and bowls in characters like h m n r and a b d p q g; synthesized with the roundness and wandering uppercase crossbar heights of Plak. The Commercial Type designers figured out how to make this marriage of styles work, then expanded the family out to a full range of weights in three progressively narrower widths. In the heaviest weights, the family ended up with a taste of the future as predicted in the 1970s.

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

2014 TDC Winner: OdestaMay 1, 2014

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Odesta, designed by Ondrej Jób of Urtd, was one of the winners in the 2014 TDC competition.

The TDC writes: ‘There was a total of only 24 entries selected by the jury from nearly 200 submitted from 29 countries. These winners will will be included in the Annual of the Type Directors Club, Typography 35 and also included in 7 exhibitions touring cities in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.’

2014 TDC Winner: OggMay 1, 2014

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Ogg, designed by Lucas Sharp and published through our Incubator foundry in 2013, was one of the winners in the 2014 TDC competition.

The TDC writes: ‘There was a total of only 24 entries selected by the jury from nearly 200 submitted from 29 countries. These winners will will be included in the Annual of the Type Directors Club, Typography 35 and also included in 7 exhibitions touring cities in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.’

New Release: MarignyMarch 27, 2014

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Marigny, designed by Tal Leming of Type Supply, is a friendly typeface that takes its job seriously. It lives in the intersection of writing, lettering and typography. Technically, it’s a typeface, of course, but it looks like a very nicely lettered interpretation of a handwritten version of a traditional typeface. (Yeah, whoa.) Marigny has the same basic proportions as classic oldstyle typefaces like Garamond. These, combined with the hand-rendered forms, give blocks of a text a warm, inviting appearance. Plus, the soft forms look great in headlines and logotypes. It has small caps, swashes, ornaments and more. I had a lot of fun designing it and even more fun making graphic design with it. I hope you like it.

The family is named after a neighborhood in New Orleans. Wondering how it is pronounced? When I was growing up in Louisiana I always heard it pronounced as “mare-ah-knee” so that’s how I say it. It’s French. Or, at least it’s the South Louisiana version of French that I learned in school.

See Marigny here

Typewriter, now with italics!March 21, 2014

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Henrik Kubel of A2-Type just released beautiful italic styles for his lovely typeface, Typewriter. Henrik writes: ‘When we moved into our studio in 2000 an original Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter was left behind. We used a typed proof from the machine to make a digital version as our ‘default’ studio typeface.’ We’re really excited to see Henrik’s expressive italic interpretation of his initial Typewriter roman styles.

See Typewriter here

Typographica’s Best of 2013: BaltoMarch 13, 2014

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Colin M. Ford writes: Balto is designer Tal Leming’s reinterpret­ation of an American Gothic, a style of sans serif made popular by Morris Fuller Benton and the American Type Foundry. Just as Benton set out, with his ‘Gothics’ (Alternate Gothic, Franklin Gothic, News Gothic, and others), to cull the herd of discontinuous sans serifs that filled ATF’s catalog, Leming set out to make an American Gothic that emphasizes ‘the base ideas of the style rather than particular visual attributes, quirks or artifacts of bygone type tech­nologies’ that were added to previous interpretations.

Leming carries his American Gothic references right through to Balto’s website; its whirligig arrows and clever in situ examples liven up an otherwise serious typeface, placing it in a context reminiscent of the typeface samples found in ‘Big Red’, the 1300-page 1912 ATF catalog.

Balto’s origins can be traced back to 1997, when Leming found himself stuck trying to make a classic Gothic work as a text typeface for an annual report. He couldn’t find a single font up to the task, but the seed was planted. Ten years later he finally put pen tool to bezier and began drawing Balto, and on-and-off over the next six years the face began to take shape … or many shapes. To accompany its release, Leming wrote a fantastic blog post in which he thoroughly recounts the transformations Balto went through over the six years it was in development. (Note to self: this will be very useful to link to the next time someone asks me: ‘So, why do typefaces take so long to make?!’)

Ultimately, I think Leming and Balto succeed in getting to the root of the American Gothic style and updating it for the 21st century. The benefit of an American Gothic with eight weights and matching italics becomes immediately apparent when one tries to use Benton’s ‘Gothic’ types in a modern context. Need an italic for Alternate Gothic or a light weight of Franklin Gothic? Well, that’s just too bad. Benton’s Gothic types were never designed as systems the way fonts are today — thankfully, Balto was.

Balto is a great, utilitarian family suited for the everyday uses other sans serifs would turn up their noses at. Next time I need a workhorse American Gothic that actually gets down to business, I will certainly reach for Balto.

(By the way, Balto, one can imagine, is short for Baltimore, where Leming lives and Type Supply is based. His previous typeface, Timonium, is a town just outside of Baltimore. I’m beginning to sense a theme and, as a former resident of Charm City, I like it.)

See the review on Typographica.org.