New Additions: April 2015
11th May 2015
We add hundreds of fonts to the Identifont database every month. Most of these are recent releases, and some are simply new acquisitions from foundries who were not yet represented on our site. Stephen Coles gives his take on the most interesting recent additions.
Prolific Japanese fontmaker Ryoichi Tsunekawa describes Piepie as a “very heavy typeface for titlings and captions”. The first use is quite reasonable, but captions? Perhaps something was lost in translation, because this face is ideal for big type, for ultra weighty yet lighthearted headlines. Despite its apparent size, it packs these lines into a relatively small space by keeping the letterfit tight, the lowercase huge, and the extenders as short as legibly possible. There are a few other typefaces that achieve similar goals — such as Asphalt, Bumper, Burbank, Gill Kayo, MVB Grenadine, and Mikado Ultra — but none of these quite reach Piepie’s extremes.
Eubie Script is a promising commercial debut from newcomer Dai Foldes. Unlike most of the calligraphic scripts we see these days, Eubie is not written with a pen or painted with a brush, but drawn or “built up”, as Nick Sherman put it in his Typographica review. The result is something quite original in a crowded field of informal script fonts. The source of inspiration was Harry Knorr’s mid-20th-century lettering for the storied Globe Poster Printing Corporation. Transforming the energy and spirit of this kind of work into a font is not an easy task, and most typographic attempts to do this sort of thing fall short. Foldes succeeded; and that’s a good sign for his future in the field.
Ecam was selected by Erik Spiekermann as his favorite release from 2014. That is high praise for a straight-ahead, no-nonsense sans serif from a guy who has made his name and fortune in that very category of type. Ecam shares qualities with rigid, engineered industrial sans serifs like DIN, Letter Gothic, and even Spiekermann’s own Officina, but it has its own distinct personality derived from a unique combination: constructed, nearly modular lettershapes with a sense of humor and humanity — even swashes! In this way it has a lot in common with another 2014 release, Audimat 3000, but there is definitely room for both of these odd balls.
Along with the Indic script fonts that give his Indian Type Foundry its name, Satya Rajpurohit produces some decent work on the Latin side as well. That output earned him a coveted spot in MyFonts’ Creative Characters interview series this month. His Akhand is a straight-sided and straight-forward Grot in the tradition of Trade Gothic Bold Condensed No. 20 (read more about this offshoot of Trade Gothic). It takes a few contemporary turns, however, with its disconnected ‘Kk’s, spurless ‘b’ and ‘q’, and extreme x-height. All of these novelties work ok, but the open-looped ‘g’ feels unresolved and unnecessary to me.
When the young foundry Letters from Sweden released Trim in 2012, I was impressed. It managed to introduce a deceivingly simple concept — the snipping of round shapes and diagonals to give every letter flat, tight-fitting sides — in an original way without appearing too contrived. Brace, though not exactly a seriffed version of Trim, is built on the same structure. Unfortunately, in adding the serifs the design loses its character and function, becoming little more than a tough, industrial slab. It’s not bad, but it’s not special, and faces like Neue Aachen with shorter slabs acheive a more compact heft. The name Brace is perfect, though; its combination of straight and bowed lines could be just the right material for building a rugged page.
Take a glance at Identifont’s “Similar Fonts” listing for Tita Script and you’ll see there are already dozens of casual curlicue scripts on the market. What Tita has that most others don’t is a loose and loopy character that wanders about, not trying too hard to maintain consistent strokes or a steady baseline. (Sometimes you wish it would try a little harder actually, as more than a few curves are pretty bumpy.) The “Pro” version also offers a variety of swash glyphs with extra curls — some delightful, some bordering on ridiculous.
As I mentioned in the February review of Granville, type designers have taken a sudden interest in sans serifs with stroke contrast. Clasica Sans joins the throng, but takes a very different approach than Granville and most of the others. Its strokes end in a flaring, angled terminal that has more in common with older, frumpier designs like Globe Gothic, Stellar, and two undigitized phototype faces: Baker Sans and Stettler. The design gets pretty dicey in the Ultra Black weight. Still, despite the mustiness, I gotta respect Enrique Hernandez for going down the route less traveled. This companion to last year’s Clasica Slab has a kind of hand-wrought feel of 1970s faces that revived turn-of-the-century Victoriana.