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19.
10.
2020

Its the pen

An overview of the design process of Yport; the grotesque typeface with calligraphic expression.


Over the last years I develop different grotesque- and serif-typefaces. In each of these projects I had a different focus and design strategy. Often my serif fonts are driven by calligraphy. My sans serif typefaces are more guided by reduction of forms and geometric construction. 

To have a pronounced calligraphic expression within a sans serif typeface was a intriguing idea and the starting point of Yport. Particular for me, I did not have any idea of cultural or historic reference at the start of the project.
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The mainly use tool; a broad nib pen

As you might see on the sketches below, I am no master calligrapher. However, to be aware of the logic of calligraphy and play with it was sufficient for my purpose. 

I started open-minded drawing with a brought nip pen. Over time, I found features which I liked. Implementing these characteristics in every possible shape needed a lot of care. Having a tool as direct reference is great; it lets new ideas surface and it narrows the options due to the physical limitation of the pen.


Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry
Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry

Some early sketches made with broad nib pen on paper.

After several weeks exploring with just the nib pen, I did my first scan. From there I came in a work loop; from digital to analog to digital… 

At first my digital versions were high in contrast and edgy. I was really focused that this sanserif had a calligraphic expression. Making things first over the top, to later removing details and tweak the shapes as they feel right; is a common design strategy for me.


Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry


An early digital version of Yport with emphasised contrast.

Spezia Font Luzi Type Foundry


The final version of Yport, balanced and calligraphic.

This was a intriguing design process. The typeface is built on hundreds of nip pen sketches. This makes this typeface unique and outstanding, with its manner and unexpected details. However, Yport feels familiar, known and useful.





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