Editura is my graduation project for TypeMedia 2013. This type family has been developed in four months in the last semester of the course. I concentrated on creating a text family. It is still very much a work in progress.
The brief was to create a type family for magazines, serious publications, and any type of nonfiction books. The family should include enough styles to offer the designer stylistic choice in building functional typographic hierarchies. The glyph repertoire should be able to accommodate not only different languages, but also different types of notations (chemical formulas, reports, bibliographies, etc). The character of the typeface would be sharp and controlled to reflect the seriousness of the contents, but at the same time it would have a degree of personality so as to make it suitable for branding publications.
In the end, it made sense to work towards having a range of text weights (light, regular, semibold, bold, black), an italic, and two display weights (thin and black). This would give me enough flexibility to design a variety of layouts. I concentrated most of my time on developing the text weights. The display weights came into the picture at a later point. I started the display weights after the regular was very defined, and I was surprised how much I had improved in the speed of drawing, judging, and testing.
You can flip through the styles in the slideshow directly below, or you can continue scrolling down to see more details.
From the beginning, I tried to settle on certain system of vertical proportions. The x-height should be generous, yet not like a dictionary type. The ascenders should be decent in height because they are important for recognizing a word — at least more important that the descenders. As a result, the descenders are relatively short, so the leading can be made tighter, if necessary. The cap-height is rather low, which ensures that they do not distract when there are frequent proper nouns within the text, or for the German language.
In my opinion, the text weights should be rather compact, to account for the frequent use in columns. The horizontal proportions of the lower and upper cases are, as opposed to old-style types, relatively equalized, which creates a more contemporary feel in a block of text. The contrast type of the typeface is transitional, with quite a strong vertical emphasis. This creates a formal texture in a block of text. I tested my proportions repeatedly by using a text generator with the characters that I had. Based on these tests, I kept changing and correcting the proportions of the letters.
For this project I knew that numerals would be very important. Ideally, if you are working on scholarly texts, reports, and similar publications, you need a variety of numerals:
Proportions were not the only factor. The skeleton form of the figures and their widths were equally important. In the solution that I chose, the old-style figures are 50 points above the x-height, with relatively small extenders. Their construction is very different than that of the lower case. I wanted them to be round and open. Given that numerals have a different stroke history, I thought this treatment was completely justified. Rather than featuring terminals, the old-style shapes like ‹2 3 6 5› end in flared strokes. This allows for bigger counters and less clogging at small sizes.
On the other hand, the lining figures, which are designed to match the weight of the caps, feature half-circle terminals as a means to close up the large counters, like in ‹2 3 6 5›. While both sets of numbers are based on similar skeleton shapes, they are treated a little differently stylistically.
The most important thing when designing a typeface is to test it at every step. This is the only way to see if it is working or not. For the purpose of this project, I really enjoyed designing proofs. From our previous type design projects I had learned what a difference it makes to test your typeface in the context that it is meant for. As soon as I had most of the lower and uppercase, I started building newspaper and magazine-like layouts, testing the type in columns of different widths, at 8, 9, and 10 points. The proofs became more and more complex, and they developed into little magazines.
Finishing this stage of the project, it seems like there is even more work on the to-do list now than there was at the beginning. There is no end to type design. I did not expect to finish this type family within three months — that would be highly unrealistic — but I am happy with the results so far. I have a good idea about what the next steps should be in developing it. I plan to continue working on the Editura family, to expand it to work in a scientific context. Editura will be released (hopefully) in 2015 at Bold Monday.
The process book was an important part of the design. It allowed me to detach myself from the typeface and actually treat it from the user-perspective. The book contains many more details about the decisions that were involved in creating Editura, specifications about the type family, as well as a specimen part printed on different paper qualities, in color and in grayscale. Following are some impressions of the type family in use.