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ITC Tactile is a puzzle of subtle typographic contradictions. Capitals have traditional epigraphic proportions, but the lowercase has a uniform optical width. Light weights are stately and elegant, but bold designs are almost jolly. This paradoxical alphabet even combines two distinctively different serif designs.
Designer Joe Stitzlein says, “I wanted to create a modern and dynamic serif face that draws its forms from antiquity. I also wanted to have as much fun as possible with the drawing and architecture of each letter. Hopefully I've created a very legible typeface that grabs the reader's eye in a nice, 'tactile' way.”
The apparent inconsistencies of the design are the result of careful consideration. Of the seemingly odd serif design, Stitzlein explains, “The transitional serif is an entry point for the eye into the letterform, and the long slab is an exit, leading to the next letter.” The result is a typeface that's easy to read at text sizes but offers surprising details when enlarged to display sizes, setting ITC Tactile apart from more traditional designs.
While this is his first commercial typeface design, Stitzlein has ample experience creating custom typefaces for corporate branding, including companies such as Silicon Graphics and Sempra Energy. His graphic design business has served a wide range of clients, including Apple Computer and the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
The ITC Tactile family is available in three weights, with complementary italic designs and a suite of small caps for each of the roman designs. Stitzlein drew the small caps to match the height of the lowercase x-height, which enables “bi-form” or “unicase” setting in display copy.
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