Typography is a Form of Kindness


The Master Type and Media course at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague is a masterclass in type design and the students there just released this lovely website in celebration of their work. It showcases all of the typefaces that they’ve been working on over the past twelve months and many of them are strikingly beautiful.

Take Henk by Martin Pyšný for example where things start off normal. We have a regular, italic and bold weight that share rounded serif characteristics like this:

However, this was not enough for Martin. He also designed Henk Out which is a companion typeface that’s designed for branding and crazy headlines where every part of the letterform jostles for space. In fact it looks unlike any other typeface I’ve ever seen:

I also really love the numbers of Driver, a variable font family by Pablo Gámez Navarro where he designed six sets of decorated figures that look something like this:

I find the sheer bulk of all this work to be oddly soothing and comforting, and I think I always have. Pouring over design notes about how someone made their typeface, projects often littered with errors and false-starts, there’s this type of nostalgia I find myself wallowing in. Magdalena Wiśniewska’s design notes are one good example of this where I see sketches for her typeface Essie and find myself sinking into my chair a little bit:

I think the reason why I feel this way is because whenever I see anyone tackling a problem with dedication and focus then I remember what good typography really is. It’s not about beauty or elegance, although those are qualities that good typography can possess. Instead, I think that good typography is really just a form of kindness. Making sure that we can communicate as effectively as possible is, well, kind.

And we need as many careful stewards as we can get, so that they can help take care of the letters for us.

Letter of the week

My favorite letter can be found in Sven Fuchs’s Gustav, an impressive and diverse family of sans and serifs for editorial design:

But of all these letters my favorite cannot be anything other than Gustav’s capital G, where this top half is exceedingly lovely and wonky at the same time:

Until next week!

✌️ Robin