An old plaque of Fate s.a., the tire factory workshop in Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay.
I used to live for a few months in Montevideo. Uruguay is a rural country with many agricultural machines. Every tractor needs its repair shop, so there are quite a few of these places.
Once, I came across one of these workshops with a particular plaque; it stated fate. This simple but ingenious lowercase f of the logo of this tire factory intrigued me. And like that, a typeface concept was born: adding spaces into as many counter forms as possible.
The concept is to add spaces into counter forms.
First quirky scribble of Recife.
Since the old logo of fate was a sans-serif typeface, I initially started making a grotesque font. However, I quickly turned to a serif typeface, which was a more obvious option. Serif fonts are generally more calligraphic and therefore have more contrast. So the concept fit better.
Timelapse: the evolution of the Recife font.
I designed Recife for editorial needs. Its design follows the Dutch serif typeface tradition. Adding some extra space in the counter forms was seamlessly possible and gives the letters a subtle elegance. In 2018, I published Recife Text and Recife Display.
A variable font animation shows the final version of Recife Display.
After completing Recife, I always had the idea of creating a matching sub-family called Recife Sans. However, after several attempts, I wasn’t entirely convinced by the sketches of my Sans version.
I put Recife Sans aside for a few years. Then, in 2021, I revisited the idea and took a fresh look at the entire concept. I felt there must be a way to apply this concept to a sans-serif font, as it offers a distinct visual strategy that adds a unique character to letterforms.
Finally, I found a new approach to use this concept. Instead of creating a sibling to Recife, I thought of introducing a cousin. This allowed me to think more independently from the first typeface while focusing on how to apply the concept to a separate font.
Sketches from 2021: the Sans Version needs a larger x-height...
...and a punchy character.
I named the Sans cousin Valizas. The key was to design Valizas with a larger x-height, providing sufficient vertical space to accommodate its expressive character. Valizas has a fun and flowing appearance that sets it apart as a one-of-a-kind typeface.
A variable font animation showcases the final draft of Valizas
This summarises a process of several years. This project has demonstrated to me the potential of simple concepts in visual design and the fact that certain ideas require time to fully develop.