Type Trends: Taking from Uncommon Sources

In addition to graphic designers putting their typographic compositions through specialty processes, type designers are in growing numbers pulling from sources generally considered outside the norm of graphic design. Prior to digital design, engraving alphabets long existed in parallel to printing types, one occasionally borrowing from another but mostly each keeping to itself. Engraving is marked by its high contrast, solid fine lines, and often slightly raised surface. Below is an engraved flier for Nancy Sharon Collins’s The Complete Engraver, set in engraving-inspired faces by Terrance Weinzierl.

It was in designing his attorney’s letterhead that Mark van Bronkhorst noticed how few fonts existed that were based on engravers’ alphabets, the Sackers collection being one exception. What’s more, none had been developed into type families with an extensive range of weights. Sourcing original engraver masterplates, he did the work of adapting these styles to the constraints of digital type.

The Sweet Collection by Mark van Bronkhorst, is drawn from 20th Century engraving alphabets. Above: Sweet Gothic, Sweet Sans, Sweet Titling No. 22, Sweet Square.

Another rising trend comes from the range of routed letters used in signs and labels, like in the sign above I recently spotted outside the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos in Cordoba. Routed lettering is done with a fixed bit, often reducing letters to a single path with a monolinear stroke.

While some older examples of routed lettering translated to type exist, more or less as documentary types (I’m thinking of DIN 17 and Normalise DIN), some new examples of families that pull from this aesthetic include NeubauLaden’s NB Grotesk-R.

Ariel Di Lisio’s Uma, from Sudtipos

And one we don’t carry but love all the same, Jeremy Mickel’s Router.

That’s it for this post, but I’m curious; What new type from uncommon sources are you seeing?

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