New from H&Co: Tungsten Rounded

There’s a wonderful materiality about rounded letters. Their lighter weights have an engineered quality: for me, they always bring to mind the controlled movements of a router, steadily cutting channels in brass or steel and leaving behind a spray of metal shavings. Their heavier weights are the stuff of the roadside, both the vacuform plastic letters that advertise gas stations and motels, and the painted signs that herald this week’s prices for groceries or liquor. Applying these tactile qualities to our suave Tungsten family gives us Tungsten Rounded, a new family of six fonts that’s at once earnest, energetic, and wry.

A common dilemma when working with rounded typefaces is what to do when two adjacent letters overlap. For the signpainter, the tiny divet created by two intersecting curves is quickly dispatched with a brush, but the letters in a typeface usually go unsupervised:

In Tungsten Rounded’s heaviest weights, we addressed this problem with a set of 151 alternate characters, designed to interact in more predictable ways. An OpenType feature automatically engages these characters when needed, to ensure that all of the 548 potential collisions are managed correctly, from common pairs like AX, to truly exotic ones such as .

New from H&Co: Forza

There are stylized typefaces that speak in a singular, powerful voice, and there are versatile ones capable of expressing many different moods. We feel the pull of both extremes, and are especially fascinated by the typographic styles caught in between. Sans serifs based on the rounded rectangle are an interesting study: they’re adaptable enough to have survived almost two hundred years, but in every incarnation they return with a new but overly specific agenda. The ones on enamel railway signs are charming, but a little sleepy; the ones on battleships are somber, if a little aloof. We’ve long wondered if this style could be harnessed to create a more expressive family of types, and recently had the opportunity to find out: Wired commissioned us to design a square sans as their editorial workhorse, one that could handle everything from philosophical essays to down-to-earth service pieces.

The result is Forza®, a new family of sans serifs from H&Co. Forza’s sophisticated visual vocabulary makes it alert and engaging, and its broad palette of weights ensures that Forza can meet the needs of the most demanding designer, from painterly display typography to text-heavy listings. Ardent, disciplined, shrewd, and commanding, Forza offers a range of voices to choose from, and is now available in twelve styles, from $199.

The Tablet Magazine

Typefaces: Vitesse, Forza, Tungsten, and Gotham Rounded

Wired gets it. Today they’re going public with the prototype they shared with us a few weeks ago, and if you’re like me, your reaction will be an instantaneous “neat!” followed immediately by “well, isn’t it obvious it was supposed to work this way?” When something creates and fulfills expectations at the same time, you know you’ve got it right. —JH

New from H&Co: Vitesse

Please welcome Vitesse®, a new slab serif in twelve styles.

Slab serifs are one of typography’s most vibrant categories, yet they remain dominated by two ancient forms: the nineteenth century Antique, and the twentieth century Geometric. Both are vital and living genres — we’ve explored each of them, in our Sentinel and Archer type families — but what of the twenty-first century slab? Vitesse revels in the tension between organic letterforms and mechanical grids, and offers designers a distinctive new voice that’s suave, confident, and stylish. Engineered for responsive handling and a sporty ride, Vitesse is now available, starting at $199.

Never Looked Better

Typeface: Gotham Rounded Bold

In the year and change since we released the Gotham Rounded family, I’ve noticed an unusual paradox at play. Some designers choose the fonts because of their high-tech associations, and can coax out of them an “engineered” quality that evokes the engraved markings on keyboards and camera lenses (both prime ingredients in Gotham Rounded’s design.) Others choose the fonts because they’re friendly, and use them to achieve a playful tone that’s somewhere between a kids’ science book and a Japanese synthpop single. But every once in a while, someone chooses the fonts for both reasons, finding a way to reconcile these seemingly contrary intentions in a single piece of design. Scott Dadich, the Creative Director of Wired, has a knack for making type do two things at once, but only when he’s not making it do twelve things at once. (He’s one of those publication designers who makes me glad I stuck with type design.) Together with his dream team, designers Wyatt Mitchell, Margaret Swart, and Christy Sheppard, Scott introduces in the September issue of Wired a redesign that features Gotham Rounded, in what I think is an incredibly smart application.

The magazine’s Play section, once home to gadgets and new technology, now exhibits more of the broadly philosophical thinking that distinguishes the very intriguing Wired of the 21st century. The addition of Gotham Rounded is just part of a design strategy designed to give the section a more distinct voice and a clearer point of view: another smart device is the yellow “progress bar” that tracks the movement of the section, and makes for some marvelous visual serendipity when it intersects both type and image. But positively brilliant are the dominating initials that form a sort of periodic table of themes: a general topic is abstracted from each article, which is represented by a two-letter abbreviation, which signals the nature of the writing to follow. It’s a very clever way of reinforcing the magazine’s editorial range — and reminding readers that Wired is not about things but about ideas — and it excitingly builds anticipation for next month’s issue: will it cover these same topics? New ones? It’s one of the most striking and original solutions I’ve ever seen for building a genuine section-within-a-section, a daunting challenge for any magazine. Wired achieves it with spectacular success. —JH

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