29 JUNE 2015 | CUSTOM TYPEFACES
The Daily Telegraph has undergone a design transformation to mark its 160th anniversary. Under the guidance of design director, Jon Hill, one of the last remaining quality daily broadsheets in the UK has a completely new typographic dress from Commercial Type. Working closely with Hill was Commercial Type partner, Paul Barnes, who has developed two new type families as well as designing the new titlepiece.
The title piece draws on the paper’s rich heritage of using an inline blackletter form, harking back to the first publication of the Daily Telegraph back in 1865. Since this date the newspaper has seen a wide variety of forms, ranging from Victorian exuberance to the stripped down form inline less form of the most recent incarnation. Barnes looked back at the black letters of Hendrik van der Keere from the 16th century, through to the Georgian forms of the British foundries of the 18th and 19th century. The first example of the Anglo inline style seems to have been pioneered by the Fry foundry in the 1790s. The new design manages to capture historical accuracy, without seeming archaic, with high contrast giving it a dignified stature at large sizes. Three variants have been drawn, with the inline removed and lower contrast for the smallest size model.
The headline serif typeface is a new version of the popular Austin, designed originally by Barnes with later additions of a light and Ultra by Berton Hasebe. Austin News Headline retains much of the elegance and compactness of the original, with a lower contrast, an increased x-height of 106% and an overall slight widening of the face. The serifs are heavier and shorter. While Austin started as a magazine headline, inspired by the typefaces of Richard Austin, Austin News is a hardworking newspaper headline typeface, with eight weights with matching italics. The wide range of weights have been applied throughout the newspaper from the light being used for section heads, through to the bolder weights in the sports section. Designed to work above in large sizes, a version for small size headlines, Austin News Deck was designed for uses from 24 to 14pt.
As Austin Text showed, the design is robust enough to work in small sizes, and after months of trials this has lead to the new Telegraph text typeface, Austin News Text. Following much of the conventional wisdom of news text design, Austin News Text manages to keep the beauty of the display and text variants. With an increased size on body with the typical x-height increase, it is still remarkably economic, and with the decision to increase type size on the previous Franklin Antiqua, makes the paper a much easier to read. Austin News Text comes in five weights with small capitals and various alternate numeral styles.
Hill has also employed a new version of Marian 1812, the design based on the original ‘Scotch’ Romans of Miller and Wilson. Commercial Type designed additional optical weights for the font, so it can be used down to text sizes and also in large section heads, particularly in the Saturday editions. Barnes also drew an extended set of swash capitals, inspired by the copperplate initials of the Scottish foundries. It is often thought that these typefaces were cut originally by Austin, the most famous of the British trade engravers of the Georgian era, fittingly giving the Telegraph a homogenous feel.
The new design also features the Telesans family, designed by Barnes with long term Commercial Type collaborator Dan Milne. Begun in 2011 under the guidance of Himesh Patel, the former creative director of The Daily Telegraph and Derek Bishton, special creative projects director, it comes in three optical sizes, headline, text and agate. An open and warm modern humanist sans, it is at present used as a secondary counterpoint to News Austin, and for the large amount of small size typography throughout the newspaper from weather, financial listings, sports scores, and television listings.
At present the typefaces are being mainly employed in the daily and Sunday editions of the print newspapers, but will eventually be rolled out across the digital editions.
12 MAY 2015 | CUSTOM TYPEFACES
The McClatchy Company publishes 29 daily newspapers across the US, from Washington, to California, to Kansas, Florida, and the Carolinas, in both large and small markets. Working with Garcia Media, they have spent the last year developing a unified design language that will bring together the print papers, mobile apps, and web editions with a more consistent overall look. However, it was important that the newspapers retain a measure of individuality, rather than all looking exactly the same. Directed by Garcia Media's Reed Reibstein and Mario García, we designed a set of typefaces that will help to bridge the gap between design consistency and individual character. For more information on the redesigns and the underlying strategy and philosophy, please see this excellent post on the Garcia Media blog.
The first set of newspapers to follow this new design paradigm are The Sacramento Bee, The Modesto Bee, and The Merced Sun-Star, with The Fresno Bee to follow in the next week. The remaining 25 dailies will roll out their redesigns in the coming year or so.
The quiet, hardworking core of this new set of typefaces is the text face, which will be common to all 29 dailies: a modified version of Kai Bernau's Lyon Text, with shortened ascenders and descenders to fit better with the tight leading of newspaper text typography. The italics are slightly less angled and a bit wider, keeping the counterforms and arches from clogging up on newsprint. Three grades have been produced for this family, slightly different weights to compensate for different inking on different presses across the country. Though the schedule was highly accelerated, we were able to receive press tests from all 29 newspapers, which helped to determine how heavy the different grades should be, as well as the right range of weights for the headline faces.
The more visible part of this project is a set of three headline families, all drawn on the same character widths and sharing kerning so that they can be subsitituted seamlessly for one another without changing copyfit. We have aimed for a friendly, sophisticated, and distinctly American look for the three families. McClatchy Sans was drawn by Christian Schwartz, McClatchy Serif was drawn by Miguel Reyes, and McClatchy Slab was drawn by Greg Gazdowicz. These headline families build on the ideas explored in Berton Hasebe's Duplex family, which matched a serif and a sans on the same widths, but the addition of a third family added exponentially to the complexity. The designers at Garcia Media and a handful of the McClatchy papers tested Duplex but felt it looked too European. With this in mind, we looked for sources that would feel unambiguously American, landing on a set of typefaces from the Ludlow Typefoundry. Ludlow's typesetting machines were very popular for setting headline type at newspapers throughout the US in the first half of the 20th century, before the rise of phototype.
Because these families are designed for differentiation, they needed to look different, while complementing one another when they are used together. McClatchy Sans takes a number of design cues from Tempo, R. Hunter Middleton's Americanized take on the geometric sans, which seems to borrow as much from sign painter's Gothics as it does from Futura. Since many of the papers had been using Font Bureau's Benton Sans, derived from Franklin Gothic and News Gothic, we felt we had to rule out the American Gothic genre. Angled terminals make the face look warm and approachable, while also adding flexibility in tweaking the character widths to match the other families. McClatchy Sans is the largest of the headline families, with 7 weights, duplexed italics (drawn by Greg Gazdowicz), and a full range of Condensed styles that are used for labels and larger headlines. McClatchy Sans also serves as a workhorse beyond headlines, with a looser Text version in use for captions, weather maps, and other secondary applications.
McClatchy Serif is based on Ludlow Garamond, Middleton's quirky take on French Renaissance types. We felt that an oldstyle would be a more distinctive and interesting choice than a Modern, which seemed like a more overtly historical choice. Miguel Reyes also looked at Sabon, which has more contemporary proportions and a crisper italic. McClatchy Serif has 4 weights, with true cursive italics for all. It is the most visually sophisticated of the three families, with higher contrast and a smaller x-height than the other two, making it feel less compact.
McClatchy Slab started out as a loose interpretation of Ludlow Bookman, the primary headline face in The New York Times throughout most of the 20th century, until the 2005 refresh that replaced it with Matthew Carter's extensive Cheltenham family. However, the character widths of the other two families forced the serifs to become shorter and shorter until McClatchy Slab ended up looking more like a slab serif interpretation of Cheltenham. This family is a bit friendlier than the other two, but the crisp detailing on the serifs keep it newsy and energetic.
A small number of alternates, such as a single-story g (which looked far too silly to include in the Serif), allow for further flexibility and differentiation.
The design process for these three families was far from straightforward. Schwartz drafted the Sans first, so Reyes and Gazdowicz would have widths to work with, but it was important not to think of any one of the three families as the "primary" typeface. As work on the three families progressed, the designers would periodically sit down together to discuss which characters they were having the hardest time fitting onto the widths and where the compromises were most visible, then negotiate changes.
Reibstein and Garcia describe their approach to using these three families as follows:
In practice, each newspaper will select a type palette emphasizing certain of the headline faces across platforms. In print, there are four options for the primary and secondary headlines: #1, Serif and Sans; #2, Slab and Sans; #3, Sans and Serif; and #4, Sans and Slab. At launch on the web, papers using the Serif will have the Serif as their primary headline face, while those using the Slab will have that as their primary face... Palette #1, emphasizing the Serif, is be the most elegant and conservative. #2 is more approachable but still serious. #3 and #4 are the boldest and most newsy.
01 NOVEMBER 2014 | CUSTOM TYPEFACES
Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz have drawn a custom version of Paul's Caslon Doric Black for the identity of the 2nd Istanbul Design Biennial, designed by Project Projects.
From the press release: “Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), curated by Zoë Ryan and associate curator Meredith Carruthers, the theme of this year’s edition is The Future Is Not What It Used To Be.
Under this overarching title, Zoë Ryan revisits the manifesto as a platform and catalyst for critical thinking in design. The biennial asks, how can we reclaim the manifesto for the 21st century and beyond, not only in the production of texts, but through actions, services, provocations, or objects and seize the potential to incite inventive outcomes?”
Inspired by old political tracts, the typeface has four italic styles in total: more and less urgent angles, each slanted both forward and back. This allows the designers to use shifting emphasis to draw different meanings out of the text. The typeface is used to ask provocative questions in both English and Turkish on the interior and exterior of the Galata Greek Primary School, the main venue for the biennial.
The Turkish accents have been aggressively simplified. The breve over Ğ, typically a curved form, is instead a flat stroke, and the accents below Ç and Ş are reduced to simple dots, matching the dot over İ. These simplifications have been taken from lettering and sign painting styles common in Turkey, and allow for the tight line spacing the designers needed to create a very dense texture.
27 SEPTEMBER 2014 | CUSTOM TYPEFACES
Pentagram designed new opening titles and bumpers for the 40th season of Saturday Night Live, which debuted on September 27. Berton Hasebe drew a custom version of Druk Condensed, slightly lighter and wider than the existing version.