Abelard & Blonde Script

One font for café menus, another for the book you read while you drink your coffee: Introducing Abelard and Blonde Script, two of ITF's latest font familes

This week, the Indian Type Foundry brings two very different typefaces to your attention. The first, Abelard, is a Latin-script serif family for setting long passages of text. It was especially designed with eReaders in mind. The second, Blonde Script, is a casual, sign-painter-stlye script face. It includes a roster of swashes and alternates.

Abelard

Abelard focuses on functionality. It’s a modern (or neoclassical) family, with 10 styles. The weights range from Light to ExtraBold, and each has a companion italic. Abelard was designed by Barbara Bigosińska, a Polish designer living in the Netherlands. Bigosińska is a graduate of the MA type]media course at the Royal Academy in The Hague (KABK), where she learned mastery of broad-nib and pointed-pen writing styles. Abelard’s contrast model is vertical, like most other neoclassical-style typefaces. Its letterforms are based on pointed-pen models. With Abelard, Bigosińska has created a contemporary response to neoclassical types like Baskerville, Bulmer, and Scotch Roman.

Bigosińska optimised Abelard for use in printed text and eText. The typeface features several elements which ensure that text set with it maintains even color, no matter what rendering conditions arise. These features include case-sensitive punctuation, which may be activated via the OpenType <case> feature. This substitutes 36 glyphs with variants whose forms are suited to all-caps settings. However, all of the punctuation, whether it is optimised for upper or lowercase text, is prominent. Abelard does not tolerate shy punctuation marks! Each Abelard font also includes 13 separate f-ligatures, and a set of eight ornaments that resemble pen nibs, bullet points, or arrows. Abelard is equipped with four sets of figures, too (oldstyle and lining figures in both proportional and tabular variants). Since Abelard’s capitals are designed with neoclassical proportions; most of them appear to have similar widths. The fonts’ lowercase letters feature open apertures, a moderate x-height, and mild stroke-contrast. Abelard’s ball terminals are another hallmark neoclassical element. The design’s lowercase ‘f’ and ‘r’ are narrow, in order to prevent their creating holes in words. All of these characteristics help give text set in Abelard a relaxed and even appearance. While Abelard’s roman styles are elegant and sober, the italics are more flamboyant – just look at the lowercase ‘y’ in each italic font. Abelard’s italics are slightly narrower than the romans, and they’re lighter in weight, which increases their ability to offer clear differentiation in text. The italic ‘v’, ‘w’, and ‘y’ each have their right arm curved, which improves their spacing.

Bigosińska’s Abelard typeface shares its name with Peter Abelard (1079–1142), a medieval French philosopher and theologian. His tragic affair with Héloïse d’Argenteuil – and their subsequent, life-long correspondence with one another – remain one of the most enduring true-life love stories from the Middle Ages. The two lovers are remembered with a nineteenth-century monument in Paris’s fabled Père Lachaise Cemetery. Like Peter Abelard, Bigosińska’s typeface is resolute, noble and strong, with a deep-minded passion for books and philosophy. Abelard is Bigosińska’s second serious type family to date, and her debut release with ITF. Previously, she designed Mala, her first full typeface family, at type]media in 2013.

Blonde Script

Blonde Script is a single-style typeface full of stylistic alternates. The font has 815 glyphs in total. Aside from the alternate letterforms, there are 25 ligatures, plus special glyphs for price tags; logotypes for words like ‘for’, ‘of’, ‘the’, and ‘with’; and even a hand-written heart symbol. Blonde Script’s design looks like the kind of informal brush lettering written by sign painters, especially American sign painters in the twentieth century. Today, this kind of lettering is often used for signage in cafés and restaurants: on large boards, menus, placards, and other point of sale advertisements.Text set in Blonde Script, with its normal setting, maintains a rather even baseline. However, as soon as Stylistic Set 1 or 2 are activated, the letters begin to dance above and below the baseline. The movement of text along the line becomes fluider and even more informal. Blonde Script contains a broad variety of contextual alternates, so be sure to activate that feature in Illustrator, InDesign, or PhotoShop when using the font! Additionally, Blonde Script includes other substitutions available via OpenType features, such as Swash Letters and Small Caps (Small Caps are a quite unusual bonus in a script typeface). The font includes three kinds of figures: lining figures, oldstyle figures, and small cap figures, too.

Blonde Script was designed by Nikola Giacintová, a Czech designer. This is her second commercial release, and her debut typeface with ITF. Her first typeface was Rukola, which was part of the “Bestsellers” project that took place at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague a few years ago.