Notable Fontstand releases of 2018

Fontstand keeps growing, and we are pleased to see so many remarkable typefaces published on the platform. We’ve asked a trio of our writers, Catherine Dixon, Indra Kupferschmid, and Sébastien Morlighem to take a look at the fonts that were added to Fontstand in 2018, and select a dozen that they would like to highlight in terms of their contribution to type design, as notable type releases of 2018. Ladies and gentlemen, here are the 12 selected typefaces:

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Beastly (James Edmondson, OH no Type Co.)

Originally derived from a logotype commissioned by the Herb Lubalin Study Center, Beastly has a name that proudly fits its appearance. “I had nothing driving this project except for my own curiosity,” says its designer, James Edmonston. “I wondered what a lowercase for this super slab design might look like, so I played around with making the slabs absurdly enormous.” The result is a loose, exuberant blend of historical references in which judicious exaggeration meets startling novelty. The be(a)st display face in ages!

— Sébastien Morlighem

Brenner (Nikola Djurek, Typotheque)

Brenner by Nikola Djurek is one of these rare families you wouldn’t expect to be a family. Connected by not much more than shared vertical metrics and Djurek’s hand and nose, Brenner unites nine “autonomous” type families of very different style. Or perhaps eight, as the semi-friendly mod-grot Sans and matching Condensed are obvious partners. They are joined by a Serif with spirited Italic that gladly soaked up all the excess flavor the Sans wanted to shed. With its high stroke contrast and thin, straight serifs it’s not exactly a book face but yearns for the front page. The sturdy Display Black and Stencil may accompany it there, or the dashing Slab with its sharp notches ranging from frail to chunky, while the Mono can tone everything down to the utilitarian again. But my favourite is the unexpected Script family which offers connected or disconnected letters via OpenType features. Co-designed by Marko Hrastovec, it also comes with the most beautiful numerals of the year.

I love non-boring type families like Brenner that almost guarantee you a varied and interesting layout. But what I would love even more is that it inspires you to be more daring in the typefaces (and number of fonts) you combine (or design).

— Indra Kupferschmid

Foreday (Dino dos Santos, Pedro Leal, DSType)

Dino de Santos specializes in type for editorial design: large families with many weights, often in sans and serif pairs, with variants for text and display. With Foreday, he packed all of this into one variable font, the first to feature a serif axis (with a built-in change in contrast) and weight axis. You can use Foreday in a traditional way (light high-contrast serifs at large sizes, a sturdier or semi-serif version for body copy, and the clear sans for captions and side columns), and of course the family is also available as static font files. Or you can make more responsive use of this new technology, letting the typeface react to the format, text size and color, all the while keeping an overall consistent, humanist tone.

— Indra Kupferschmid

Gliko (Rui Abreu, R-Typography)

Gliko might be one of the most elegantly disobedient typefaces of 2018. Distinctly unexpected, it was designed by Rui Abreu, a designer quietly emerging as someone with a singular vision for editorial type design. So-called typographically ‘transitional’ types generally align to an 18th century typographic idea, characterized by a shift in sensibility (if not always the detail) away from “Old Face” towards the later more rationally-determined “Modern” style. Gliko is transitional in a truer sense of the word in that it attempts to span within one typeface the visual traits of both Old Face and Modern Face styles simultaneously. It brings all the glorious Baroque color, dancing contrast and crisp curves of 17th century Dutch type design together with the rational precision and delicate hairlines of late 18th century French type design. Gliko is as much about the white spaces around the letters as the letters themselves, with positive and negative spaces held in tension in a powerful relationship that serves to further enhance the dynamism of this richly characterful design well-deserving of its recognition as one of Fontstand’s notable releases of 2018.

— Catherine Dixon

Halyard Micro, Text, Display (Joshua Darden, Darden Studio)

If you’re fed up with Helvetica and truly think it should be put to rest, rejoice: Darden Studio’s Halyard is here! Much more than a grotesk anthology or recreation, it is a state-of-the-art typeface family built on a small, well-defined range of sources. At first glance, its overall design holds no surprises, but this typeface ultimately delivers, and its three optical sizes work beautifully on screen, especially the Micro version. Halyard provides a genuine opportunity to fall in love (again) with complex typographic hierarchies, and its fonts make a great team (as do Joshua Darden, Eben Sorkin and Lucas Sharp and all the other people who helped them)!

— Sébastien Morlighem

The Harriet Series (Jackson Cavanaugh, Okay Type)

The Harriet Series is a new-old entry on Fontstand as this text/display set of typefaces was first released in 2012 but was then reworked and welcomed to Fontstand last year. As Harriet’s designer Jackson Cavanaugh puts it, “New fonts are fun, but making old fonts better is more fun.” As a design, Harriet looks to history in the delivery of a surprisingly energetic serif typeface riffing on the delicate swing of Scotch Roman styles and the fuller curves of later style Modern types but with a strength all of its own. Following its selection as one of the Typographica “Typefaces of 2012,” the reviewer André Mora warned, “Upon licensing the Harriet Series, a sudden urge to set everything in italics may overwhelm”. The danger persists, and the sassy lightness of Harriet’s italic rhythms continue to lift typographic spirits, one of many reasons why this enduringly practical series merits recognition as one of Fontstand’s notable releases of 2018.

— Catherine Dixon

Graphik (Christian Schwarz, Commercial Type)

If you’re fed up with the usual grotesks and want something more round and geometric, don’t just go for one of the overused geo-sanses, choose Graphik. Or better yet, choose one of the exciting width variations added to Fontstand last year that make this extensive sans-serif series so special and versatile. Dramatically compressed condensed styles (from X Condensed to XXXX Condensed) lend metropolitan vibes to even the most down-to-earth copy, while Graphik Wide takes a stance when whispering is not an option. This series pushes you to pull out all the stops. Designer Christian Schwartz describes it as a “vanilla-flavored typeface,” perhaps because of its adaptability to different kinds of content, but you almost cannot produce vanilla graphic design with Graphik.

— Indra Kupferschmid

Kopius (Sibylle Hagmann, Kontour)

Stop reading and take a good look at Kopius; savor the lingering feeling of serenity that emanates from it. Sibylle Hagmann took inspiration from Liberta, a typeface designed by Herbert Thannhaeuser in the 1950s, craftily transcended its slight calligraphic features and expanded its range. Subtle and dynamic, warm and confident, especially in its bolder weights, Kopius might be the perfect choice nowadays to set the text of Virginia Woolf’s novels as well as embellish shortbread packets or Gordon Lightfoot box sets. (Why is that???)

— Sébastien Morlighem

Logical (Edgar Walthert, Bold Monday)

Logical makes you smile. It is a smile which acknowledges the hardworking rationality of this typeface and the thoughtful way in which its designer Edgar Walthert has responded to contemporary design contexts and delivered a set of typographic tools refined for rendering within digital and interactive environments. It is a smile which also acknowledges the warmth of spirit underpinning the functional concerns of this project. At moments the smile becomes an out-and-out grin, wide and open, not unlike the shape of the distinctive bottom counter of the lowercase “g.” The shapes of Logical are informed by a set of circular geometrical parameters, which, however, are applied in ways which soften the typical severity of forms resulting from the often monobrain systemic approach of lesser designs. In no way frivolous, Logical cannot resist a certain quirkiness, but while some typefaces aspire to be typographic pin-ups, Logical is there to cover your back. It offers a lot, but perhaps more importantly, Walthert has also thought about a set of features to help to manage and access the vast palette of glyphs available. With its user-friendly focus and good humor this 2018 release from Bold Monday more than merits a place in the list of notable Fontstand releases of the year.

— Catherine Dixon

Study (Jesse Ragan, XYZ Type)

Jesse Ragan has long been an admirer of Rudolph Ruzicka, a Czech-born illustrator and type designer sadly less widely known than he deserves. A folder named Studies in Type Design with unfinished trials by Ruzicka came like “an invitation for their further development” to Ragan, on which he worked intermittently for many years. I’m glad the inquiry of a prominent prospective user, Dartmouth College, convinced him to finally finish and release the typeface last year. The unconventional, squarish text face with its organic curve progression and thick serifs is not a strict revival, but more a continuation of Ruzicka’s ideas. It has a slight retro feeling. Some forms are reminiscent of designs from the 1950–60s, or those of Ruzicka’s friend W. A. Dwiggins, but the interesting italic livens up the text with a sparkle that is a welcome change from the sometimes so predictably uniform text faces of today. And I hereby vote for the inclusion of Ruzicka’s swashy letterforms as alternatives please!

— Indra Kupferschmid

Temeraire (Quentin Schmerber, TypeTogether)

Temeraire is unapologetically attention-seeking. Its great gift, however, is that, not only can it grab your attention, it can hold it too. Intellectually it builds on existing challenges to the makeup of the typographic family and to ideas of formal consistency between constituent styles. And like Jeremy Tankard’s earlier Trilogy series, it finds in the 19th century vernacular traditions a useful formal framework upon which to build, and from which to extend the possibilities for “conspicuous inconsistency” still further. In what was originally a postgraduate diploma project, the designer Quentin Schmerber found an opportunity to champion the books of Alan Bartram, and through each of Temeraire’s three styles he brings to life Bartram’s wonderful black-and-white photographic documentation of stonecutting, fascia lettering and commercial printing traditions from across the UK. A handsome swagger is brought out in these historical references, which are not apologetically tamed, but rather afforded the space to once again surprise and draw breath. Its truly wildcard Italienne style speaks of exuberance and such single-minded joy, it is hard to see how it could fail to make anyone’s day. Temeraire celebrates the importance of holding on to a sense of individualism while being mindful of others. On every level then it says as much about our current moment in time as the past, and is a truly exceptional addition to the list of notable Fontstand releases of 2018.

— Catherine Dixon

William Text, Display, Subhead (Maria Doreuli, Typotheque)

William, a revival of types cut by William Caslon during the 18th century, began as a master’s project in 2008 at the Moscow Institute of Printing. Over years of development, Maria Doreuli skillfully succeeded in bringing consistency to what began as a jumble of styles and variants. Now available in three optical sizes, including a substantial set of ornaments as well as support for Greek and Cyrillic, it’s a faithful, yet rejuvenating take on a classic that surpasses previous existing digital versions. When in doubt, use William!

— Sébastien Morlighem

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