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Holy Trinities

Unexpected type choices strike a funky chord in Jack Stratton’s short lessons on music history.

Contributed by James Edmondson on Aug 4th, 2017. Artwork published in .

    These shorts, involving Jack Stratton of Vulfpeck being filmed and interviewed by designer Rob Stenson, give me more joy than any large scale fonts usage ever will. Each of the videos presents creative use of type, video editing, and various effects to tell the story. Although the series largely receives recognition because of Stratton’s encyclopedic knowledge of funk and pop tunes from sixties through the eighties, Stenson’s typographic explorations in the interview format are often overlooked. He fearlessly combines typefaces that have no obvious relationship, creating compositions that work surprisingly well. My only hope is that this series lives on forever.

    When asked about his process for working with type in his videos, Rob Stenson had this to say:

    To be honest I just love looking at typefaces and buying them from small, independent foundries, and I love the historic context around each one. I think the basic process is, for a given moment in the video, I can narrow the face choice pretty quickly to something tangentially related to what’s being talked about (people say art history degrees are useless but I’ve found it great for coming up with “reasons” for picking typefaces), and then from there I almost always go with a modern face referencing the past (if I can find one), rather than a strict digital version of an actual face from the past. Hobeaux being a perfect example, and Forma’s another one, and Trianon Caption — they evoke the past but are true digitals, much like the music of Vulfpeck or the videos themselves, which use digital recreations of film stock and VHS tapes for color. One foot in the past, one in the present. Other than that I’ll just look for excuses to use typefaces I really like a lot. Jaakko’s a great example of that — I might’ve come up with a reason for using it at the time, but really it’s just awesome, and I feel like video is such a liberal medium in terms of what’s allowable typographically that I can really go for broke all the time. Webpages are tougher since viewers get the opportunity to stare at the design for so long, which I’ve found to be a bummer.

    At the the time of this writing, there are three video installments of the Holy Trinities series: Tambourine, Guitar, and Minimalist Funk Arrangers.

    A selection of stills featuring the eclectic typography is shown below.

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    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Trianon Italic is used for the facts about Norman Whitfield, Hobeaux and Hobeaux Rococeaux Sherman for the faux record label. Additional lettering by OH no Type Co., riffing on the original “Gordy” logotype.

    Screenshot 2017-07-28 09.46.37.png
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    The title for the “Guitar” episode pairs Goudy Text with the solid Background style of Hobeaux Rococeaux.

    Screenshot 2017-07-28 09.47.31.png
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Vulfpeck is set in Vulf Mono, of course – the typeface was originally designed for the band’s identity.

    Screenshot 2017-07-28 09.48.15.png
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    More Hobeaux, set on a circle. The tight spacing with overlapping letters cleverly minimizes the gaps without fanning or distorting the glyphs.

    Screenshot 2017-07-28 09.48.52.png
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.
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    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    The engaging Forma DJR, set on an angle …

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    … vs. the minimalist Times New Roman

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Sano kyllä Jaakkoon!

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    “Minimalist Funk Arrangers” starts off with a nod to Woody Allen.

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Ringlet: square deal.

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    The illustration for Wardell Quezergue AKA “Creole Beethoven” is complemented by Eubie Script.

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    The “Tambourine” episode ends on a high note with Viktor Script.

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    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.


    • Hobeaux
    • Hobeaux Rococeaux
    • Goudy Text
    • Vulf Mono
    • Forma
    • Jaakko
    • Viktor Script
    • Trianon
    • Eubie Script
    • Ringlet
    • Windsor
    • Times New Roman




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    1 Comment on “Holy Trinities

    1. Aug 4th, 2017  6:26 am

      This is now my favourite post on this website!

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