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Font Friday: Magnel

Font Friday is a series of posts showcasing new or interesting fonts that have caught my eye this week. This week it’s the bold Didone elegance of Magnel

The Didone has quietly experienced something of a revival in recent years… A splicing of the surnames of French typefounder Didot and the Italian print pioneer Bodoni, Didones are typified by very heavy vertical strokes and ultra-fine horizontal lines, and barely-there hairline serifs.

Didot and Bodoni developed their typefaces independently in the mid-19th century, but the boom in travel brought about by the steam age meant both were soon in common usage across the whole of Europe, fast becoming a staple part of the neoclassical aesthetic. Before every foundry had their own take on the Didone form, and the family soon became so commonplace as to be taken for granted.

It wasn’t until a century later that the Chauncey H. Griffith decided to update Bodoni for large-format use, emphasising the verticals to an excessive degree in his Poster Bodoni, of which the current plentiful crop of ultra-heavy, design-friendly Didones are direct descendants.

To Magnel then, which first emerged in 2011 from the hand of Lithuanian designer Eimantas Pa┼íkonis. The font is a contemporary, almost relaxed take on the Didone shape with more space in the counters (the empty holes in letter like “o” or “d”) and shorter descending elements (e.g the tail of a lower-case “g”). It also boasts some lovely ligatures, cheeky OpenType swash variants for any characters at the end of a line, and nicely implemented ball terminals (check out the lower case “f” in particular!). Magnel looks great at large sizes, and lends itself perfectly to typographic posters, headlines or most other display usage.

Inspiration and musical soundtrack this week is Bret and Germaine’s Masterclass in back-handed compliments.

Magnel may be purchased from the MyFonts store, which also features lots more examples of the font in use.

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Fonts: Magnel (Eimantas Paškonis)

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Font Friday: Frontage, plus new greeting cards to buy!

Font Friday is a series of posts showcasing new or interesting fonts that have caught my eye this week. This week it’s the stackable, multi-layered fun of Frontage

Frontage has been around for about a year now, but still stands as one of the best examples of a “layered” font currently on the market. The principle is simple… Each weight or variation of the font family can be stacked on top of another, with some providing shadows, some lending a 3D layer to the design, and others create an in-line effect. When combined with colour, layered fonts make it possible to create some amazing typographic designs.

What makes Frontage stand out from its peers is the construction of the actual letters. The shadows are subtle but effectively done, the ingenious “Bulb” layer lends an easy retro feel, and the lettering itself is a well balanced, Deco-esque geometric sans with more than a passing nod to House Industries’ Neutraface.

Frontage is one of only a couple of typefaces available from the hand of Juri Zaech, the other being the equally ingenious Telemark.

Today’s font samples also double up as a means to introduce my Redbubble store, where you can now buy selected Font Friday designs as greeting cards, postcards and prints!

99 Problems But A ___ Ain’t One – Seamstress Edition

99 Problems But A ___ Ain’t One – Hogwarts Edition

99 Problems But A ___ Ain’t One – Yachting Edition

Frontage is available from MyFonts and YouWorkForThem, which also features lots more examples of the font in use. These Font Friday designs and others are also available to purchase as postcard and greeting cards from my Redbubble Store.

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Fonts: Frontage (Juri Zaech)

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Font Friday: Runcible

Font Friday is a series of posts showcasing new or interesting fonts that have caught my eye this week. This week it’s the Attack of the 50ft Typeface with the B-Movie inspired Runcible

I originally had something very different in mind for this week’s Font Friday – something clean, crisp, versatile and elegant, packed to the rafters with OpenType trickery and fanciness. But the minute I saw the new offering from Font Friday stalwarts Pintassilgo Prints I realised what I really wanted was some good old-fashioned display-font fun.

There’s a time and a place for elegant type. Pintassilgo know this and are more than capable of delivering on this front, but they seem to really come alive when it comes to big, bold, 50s and 60s-inspired poster fonts. And Runcible definitely falls into the latter category, with its Jazz-artwork-meets-B-Movie poster influences. The inclusion of the shattered “cleft” version just completes the poster-friendly package – this is a font that likes to be used BIG!

As you’d expect by now from the Brazilian duo, the font makes intelligent use of OpenType and character variations to keep things organic, avoiding too much repetition with subtle variations. Things are upper-case only, but to be honest I can’t imagine this font suiting anything less than the loudest of messages. To be blunt, this typeface probably won’t find its way into many circumstances where subtlety is required, and the audience is going to be fairly niche compared to some of the previous Font Friday offerings. But the font is such unmitigated fun to use that it seemed unfair to exclude it on range of use alone!

Inspiration and musical soundtrack this week is best listened to early in the day for maximum earworm effect! A real Jurassic classic, you might say…

Runcible (presumably named after the nonsense poems of Edward Lear) is available at an introductory half price, and may be purchased as standard or the more rock-hewn “cleft” version from Pintassilgo’s MyFonts store, which also features lots more examples of the font in use.

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Fonts: Runcible, Runcible Cleft (PintassilgoPrints)

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Font Friday: Ultramarina, plus the launch of the first Swash and Fold Workshop

Font Friday is a series of posts showcasing new or interesting fonts that have caught my eye this week. This week it’s the moustache-twirling charm of Ultramarina

Ultramarina was first released a couple of years ago by Juanjo Lopez, the Madrid-based graphic designer and hand letterer behind Huy!Fonts. Juanjo describes the font as “Halfway between nineteenth century display wood letters and the American grotesk sans-serif of the early twentieth”, which means it was only a matter of time before it found itself in the Swash and Fold font folder!

Ultramarina is an elongated serif with both upper and lower-case characters, and comes loaded with a set of well-executed ligatures, confident OpenType flourishes and a handful of catchwords perfect for signage, display lettering and invitations. The characters are full of nice touches that prevent the font from appearing too formal, and with a bit of encouragement can take on an almost whimsical vintage storybook demeanor.

The example this week takes the form of a bit of an advertisment, as I introduce the first The Knowledge workshop, designed to give creatives and creatively-minded businesses the knowledge to do more with their online and offline branding. In the first edition (“A Code Most Curious”) we’ll be diving into the murky depths of HTML, WordPress and websites. The event takes place on Wednesday 17th July in Southbourne, Dorset (UK), and more information on the workshop on the Eventbrite page, along with a bit about the amazing venue!

Eventbrite - The Knowledge (Volume One): "A Code Most Curious"

Ultramarina is available to buy from the Huy!Fonts MyFonts store, along with more examples of the font in use.

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Fonts: Ultramarina (Juanjo Lopez / Huy!Fonts), Laudanum (Carl Rylatt / Ten Dollar Fonts)

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Font Friday: Niunia Wood Type

Font Friday is a series of posts showcasing new or interesting fonts that have caught my eye this week. This week it’s the warm and weathered wood-block stamps of Niunia

It’s safe to say Mateusz Machalski from Polish design studio Borutta is a man who likes his woodblocks. A quick scan through some of the typefaces on offer from the prolific designer show a passion for bringing the distinctive warmth and character of ink-stamped lettering to the digital screen.

Released late last year, the Wood Type Collection brings several of these together in a single family – kind of a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to lend a bit of vintage authenticity to their designs, without actually having to invest in a physical printing press. In amongst this set I was drawn to Niunia, a narrow uppercase sans serif with irregular weights, slightly wonky alignment and other subtle quirks that gave it a little more character than some of its siblings.

There’s no OpenType trickery here and no obvious variations between upper and lower case, but don’t let that put you off. Niunia contains a set of well-crafted letters with realistic-looking ink distribution and corner traps, that manages to avoid looking contrived and artificial.

The sample this week is inspired by the fact that wedding season has now well and truly kicked off for Swash and Fold’s sibling photography company Big Bouquet – cue a season of grooms trying to decide on the optimum knot for their special day. May I suggest the St. Andrew? Bold enough to stand out, holds well throughout the day, and hides an open top button a treat…

The complete Wood Type collection from Borutta contains 5 different styles ranging from elegant serifs to inverted sans and is available to buy from MyFonts and Youworkforthem, which also feature more examples of the font in use.

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Fonts: Niunia / Wood Type Collection (Borutta)