Below are six Hidden Gems from the Monotype and ITC libraries. Each family offers different solutions for the graphic designer’s toolkit. Browse our selection, and see if any of these typefaces is the right fit for your next project.
Looking for an old style design with a calligraphic feel and hand-drawn details? ITC Anima™ is a release from designer Olivera Stojadinovic. Emphasizing the typeface’s hand-drawn foundation, Stojadinovic says, “I wanted to create a book typeface, yet still keep a calligraphic spirit within its shapes,” she says. “First, I made quick drawings with a soft pencil. I drew the complete alphabet with virtually no corrections. The goal was to keep the sketches spontaneous.”
“If it is true that women care more for calligraphy, elegance and dance, then I suppose Anima could be called feminine,” notes Stojadinovic. “There are, however, many women who are strong and decisive. I believe that Anima also has these qualities. I would not like to qualify Anima as a feminine design. I would say that it is a reflection of my imagination and taste.”
ITC Anima is a four-weight family, each having a complementary cursive italic. An ample x-height and generous counters ensure that Anima ranks high on the legibility scale. ITC Anima may be hard to classify, but it is a lesson in grace, beauty and service to readers.
Exlibris™, a font of Swedish designer Bo Berndal, is a unique square serif face, offering a sensitive melding of sturdy proportions and ﬂowing calligraphic curves. With the strength of Rockwell® and the beauty of Palatino®, Exlibris is striking at large sizes and eloquent in text copy. Its three weights create a remarkably versatile typeface family. Square serifs give the basic roman design a direct and conﬁdent demeanor, perfect for text copy. Strong calligraphic overtones lend a feeling of elegance, and a distinctive personality is expressed in the stylized lowercase ‘g,’ curved diagonals of the ‘v,’ ‘w,’ and ‘y,’ and open bowls in the ‘b,’ ‘d,’ and ‘p.’
Exlibris Italic shares the roman’s distinctive character traits but is slightly condensed, a perfect counterpoint to highlight words and phrases in text copy. Exlibris Bold is the powerhouse of the family, and makes an authoritative statement in both text and display sizes.
Hatmaker™, one of Jean Evans’ more popular typefaces, was originally developed for the Boston-based broadcast design firm of the same name. Inspiration for the design came from Ben Shahn’s famous hand-constructed alphabet. Shahn’s alphabet, however, was limited to capital letters. “Daunted by the idea of designing a lowercase that would measure up to Shahn’s capitals, I developed a second set of caps–simple, quirky, yet almost classic–to work as ‘lowercase’ with the Shahn-like caps,” explains Jean Evans. Mixing the two in Hatmaker, creates a lively interplay of light and dark.
Monteverdi™ actually began with its own italic, and Lars Bergquist did not design that. Robert Granjon did, for this is really his own Ascendonica Cursive, cut for Christoph Plantin in 1571. The Roman was designed by Mr. Bergquist to go with it. It is no orthodox Garamond by any reckoning, but the spirit of the late French Renaissance is still there. Monteverdi has the proportions of a titling font, with long ascenders and descenders, and a correspondingly small x-height. In sizes from 14 points and up, however, it’s in its own element. As this is really a titling face, some advanced logical and mathematical notation is missing, but everything required to set text is there. Monteverdi has Roman, italic and a small cap font, but boldface would have been vandalism: Renaissance type does not survive fattening with its good looks intact. There are also Roman and italic ligature fonts, featuring not only the ’classical’ f-ligatures, but others equally desirable.
The ITC Obliqua™ typeface is a humanistic sans serif design that follows in the tradition of designs like the Frutiger® and Slate™ typefaces. César Puertas, Obliqua’s designer, sought to draw a face “that combined the proportions of humanist, foundational handwriting with the ‘industrial’ features of a traditional gothic design.” In doing so, he created a typeface that has personality without being quirky. “My goal,” he continued, “was to create a legible and personable typeface that could be used for setting both running text and display headlines.” Obliqua is a two-weight family, of Regular and Bold, each with a cursive italic designed to save space in addition to complementing the roman weights.
Obliqua is distinguished by a descending lowercase “f,” a bowl-and-loop “g,” and curved terminals on the “i” and “l.” These characters, and the two-storied “a,” also ensure high levels of legibility. In addition, Puertas took special care in designing the numerals to guarantee legibility. The full and open counters and soft curves give Obliqua a friendly, inviting quality that is sure to bring a level of appeal to copy set in the face.
ITC Photoplay™ is hidden gem from Nick Curtis. Unearthed from the 1927 edition of Samuel Welo’s Studio Handbook for Artists and Advertisers, the design’s original suggested use was for title and caption cards for silent movies. A monoweight design that bridges the gap between turn-of-the-century decorative type and Art Deco, ITC Photoplay is both casual and stylish. And, yes, the cap ‘S’ is supposed to look that that. To expand this already handy typeface’s versatility, a Black weight has been added to the original design. Curtis has also created an array of alternate characters, a couple of conjunctions, and a handful of “bishop’s fingers” to help make your point. ITC Photoplay is eminently suitable for all those occasions when you need to say, “Unhand that fair damsel, you dastardly cad!” – and really mean it.
Dig deeper into our vaults – Have you seen these six “Hidden Gems” from Monotype and ITC?
Below are six Hidden Gems from the Monotype and ITC libraries. Each family offers different solutions for the graphic designer’s toolkit.