Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Brought to you by the letter

Today's letter is brought to you by the letter: C.
Tungsten, Medium, lowercase c.

I recently did some promotional materials at work, and convinced my boss to buy the Tungsten and Vitesse type families, both from Hoefler & Frere Jones. I thought Tungsten had the right look to fit with our sport, MVP concept. Tungsten is strong, it's tough, and compact. It's a man's man's type. It's not the in-your-face, million dollar, football quarterback type, it's the hold-on-to-your-roots, English rugby player type. You know, rugby guys that knock each other around without helmets and pads. That's some tough shit.

What I appreciate about Tungsten's medium, lowercase 'c', is that it is completely indicative of the entire typeface. It's compact--no unnecessary curves here, and means business. It is essentially a visual chain link, the building blocks of industry. This style of sans-serif was common in industrial, constructionist propaganda.
This wasn't a type family that was designed it was built. But rather than being too tough, like an impact or some slab type, Tungsten gets the message across without being intimidating. It's too confident to demand anything. Tungsten knows you'll come along via your own free will.

Courtesy of typography.com:

Design Foundry: Hoefler & Frere Jones
Hoefler & Frere Jones

Date: 2009
Geometric (?) Flat-sided (?) Sans-Serif

"A few years ago, we started wondering if there was a way to make a typeface in this genre that was disarming instead of brutish, one that employed confidence and subtlety instead of just raw testosterone. Many such designs quit the fight when the going gets rough, abandoning their own internal rules when unruly letters like S or Y won’t conform to the grid — a frailty that’s especially unwelcome in this kind of typeface, whose square-jawed ruggedness would otherwise recommend it for action movies and airport paperbacks. ...The result is Tungsten, a tight family of high-impact fonts that doesn’t sacrifice wit, versatility, or style."

[They have a really nice write up of their font at their site, I recommend you read it.]