A Deadly Lowercase y

Last week Jason Pamental shared a link to Bona Nova which is a revival typeface of the serif persuasion and it’s designed by Mateusz Machalski. This specimen of Bona Nova is particularly lovely for so many reasons:

I love that Mateusz met the designer of the original Bona typeface, released in 1971 by Andrzej Heidrich, and the idea that the two of them sat down together with the student expanding and improving on Andrzej’s work from 40 years ago is simply lovely. I think it’s more often the case with revival typeface projects, such as a Baskerville or Caslon, that the type designer has only left over material from previous designers. Contacting the original designer is impossible because everyone has long since passed.

However, my favorite variant of this rather expressive type family is the Bona Sforza style which has these little notches in each character like so (you might have to zoooom to see them):

This article about the design process of Bona Nova led me down the rabbit hole of reading more about the Polish-based Capitalics type foundry which I had never heard of before. Artigua, another example of a type family that they offer for sale, is a lovely high contrast sans that I can see being great for a whole bunch of projects that require bold and large display type:

Each character looks as if it’s leaning slightly to the right and it’s interesting how the designer Maciej Włoczewski, especially in the heavier weights, balanced the oval shapes (see the top of the i and the dot of the ! below) alongside the jagged-edge and cut throat style of the lower half of the y or the squished lowercase c.

I don’t think these shapes should work together but somehow, impossibly, they do:

My favorite of course is that lowercase y. Just...gee whiz. The way that the lower half is slightly rounded if you look closely, the way that left side is much thicker than the right, and the corners! How do those shapes work with the curvy, borderline-elegant comma that follows it? I have no clue. But it certainly does.