I like to post my sketchbook pages in order, but I couldn’t resist showing you all a little sneak preview of something I’ve been working on today –
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m doing an internship at design house and type foundry The Entente / Colophon Foundry this week. Today, I was asked to try out some ideas for a custom-made typeface for a band. The brief was basic – a heavy, condensed font, perhaps with some experimental ink traps.
Ink traps are little wells cut into the details of letters – when all type was printed using letterpress, the combination of low-quality paper and thick ink meant the ink would spread out a lot when printed, resulting in messy and unprecise letterforms. Each letter was painstakingly hand-carved out of metal or wood, so a solution was soon orchestrated: ink traps. Although they look a little strange, the ink fills the wells and results in a perfectly balanced letter. The most notorious use of ink traps is in Matthew Carter’s Bell Centennial.
Today, we have much better printing methods so ink traps are often only seen in low-quality prints, such as newspapers or telephone directories. They have become almost purely aesthetic in modern fonts, and I like to use them in my letters. To me, including them means that each of my typefaces carries with it some knowledge of type gone by, and a nod to those who spent a lifetime working with it.
So here’s your preview!