Decorative typefaces you can use.
Decorative typefaces are delightful, but a font that overwhelms with its own voice can be impossible to use. Shouldn’t a decorative typeface be as versatile and hard-working as any other?
Decorative typefaces have always been among typography’s most ephemeral designs. The first decorative faces were patterned after ornamental calligraphy, classical inscriptions, and copperplate engravings, but vanished with the passing of each fashion. In the industrial age, typefounders captured every fleeting fad in a font, from Chinoiserie to rusticism, each of which met the same fate. Some of the more lasting designs were inspired by the world of sign painting, which gave us the categories of decorative typography that survive today: inlines, outlines, and stencils, as well as faceted, shaded, and shadowed letters. Woodtype manufacturers made type even more dazzling with the introduction of “chromatic” types, fonts that were produced as two separate components designed to be inked in different colors and printed in register.
Our Shades collection revisits some of best of these techniques, offering four different designs whose chromatic layers can be variously composed to produce a range of different textures. Because none of these faces specifically references any particular historical model, all are free from the kind of built-in cultural associations that plague most decorative type. The Shades collection’s twelve styles, infinitely configurable and subtly responsive to their surroundings, are designed to be useful again and again.