- Detail Type Foundry
In 2018, we released a new typeface Astro at our type design institute, Detail Type Foundry. We created this typeface Astro with inspirations from contemporary science and technology, and we call this typeface “neo-humanist sans serif”.We started this project by researching the evolutions of humanity in typefaces. According to one account, a set of current Latin alphabets was formed around the Renaissance. Lower cases were born through the humanist movement. Based on this form, people have created many different typefaces: Transitional, Didone, Slab, Grotesk, Neo-Grotesk, Humanist, Geometric and so on. We can see the influence of the times in each period in these typefaces. Human lifestyle and preference change with the times. This change may stem not only from social condition but also from one strong idea of a designer. They made a lot of challenges about sans-serif as a contemporary typeface above all, and we can find many ideas over them. During our research, we were inspired by the works of Eric Gill (1882-1940), Jan Tschichold (1902–1974) and Adrian Frutiger (1928–2015). Although about a half-century has passed since the designers challenged on san-serif, the works still give us many suggestions. We focused on Tchichold’s endeavors. At first, his devotion to modern design led him to condemn the use of non-sans-serif typefaces. Later, he changed his mind and returned to classic designs using serifs. In 1933, a transitional year for the change, he developed a sans-serif typeface for Uhertype, a manufacturer of phototypesetting machines. While greatly influenced by Eric Gill’s Gill Sans, Tchichold made a different design. His typeface has, however, fallen between the times. We have few opportunities to see his typeface. We found some hints to fuse modern and classic typefaces, and to harmonize conflicting things in his attempts: simplifying the forms in a modernistic approach, the irrational mixture of classicist decorations.
We endeavored to make it coexist in one typeface that contradicts or conflicts in the process of change. Technologies like modern aerospace or biotechnology was almost magic for the people living during the establishment of alphabets. What shape of typeface would suit this era? We organized the lists as follows.
- a typeface as an extension of history
- a typeface reflecting modern technology
- a typeface contributing to humans
We try to make this new typeface above all by reflecting contemporary technologies. Astro has smooth curves similar to modern airplanes, cars, and mobile devices. Additionally, Astro has characters having sharp tips as “K” and “t”, rounded characters having wide-open counters as “O” and “c”. It also has shapes based on handwriting as “b” and “g”.
The title Astro indicates not only stars outside the Earth, but also our planet itself. Today, we are living in the era of thinking beyond the boundaries of nation, race, and gender on a cosmic scale. As Richard Buckminster Fuller said “we’re all astronauts.” by comparing our planet to a spaceship.
Astro, Detail Type Foundrydetail.tf