During the summer I tested Frank Grießhammer’s recently released Quixo. I try to test fonts by creating actual documents — it’s the best way to see if they really work. These are the first and last pages of the fall syllabus for a class I teach at Cornish College of the Arts.
Quixo’s large set of dingbats allow for flourishes on the fly, like the manicule and “Heavy Ballot X” which mark the start and end of this 7-pager. Its circle numbers enliven the folio. I love to have ornaments on hand in every typeface I’m using. Even a set of arrows can go a long way — Process Type’s Eric Olson always includes them in his typefaces.
The rubric is Stempel Elan, which was chosen because… well, because Frank digitized it (2010) and I like that it doesn’t have seven billion ligatures. It isn’t pretty, which to me is a good thing. I don’t want needy fonts: too many contemporary scripts seem to exist solely for attention. Linotype called it a “revival and rediscovery”; Frank said it’s a “display face for any casual layout”. What I know is that it’s bold, so it holds its own as navigation.
Documents like this also give me an excuse to use fonts that I’ve always admired but never used. Eagle has long been at the top of my list. Its light weight is stylish; the black is super hefty — but never super serious. The same might be said of Quixo. If you look closely, the lighter weights are precise, while the black is all puffed up like it ate too many meatballs (as if that’s even possible).
In the end, this isn’t about matching x-heights and all that. It’s about finding things that feel good together. Life is short, you should have fun pairing fonts.
André, I would love to pick your brain about what you’re teaching your students about editorial typography. I’m an art director for the University of Illinois’s Ninth Letter and I’d like to work with the students who help make the magazine to work better independently with type. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Contributed by Stephen Coles