Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Fonts You Can Touch?

A few weeks ago I went to see Daniel Dejan speak on the Neoroscience of Touch, a lecture presented by Veritiv based on a printed piece by Sappi Paper of the same name.

The focus of the presentation was on the importance of tactile in meaningful communication. Since it was sponsored by a paper company, clearly the message was that paper is key to a brand experience

However, this was shown using a lot of interesting science, including haptics — the study of how what we touch shapes what we feel. Renowned neoroscientist and best-selling author Dr. Eagleman supplied the research that is the basis for the piece. Per Sappi's usual standards, it's a beautiful book... and the audience couldn't stop touching it.

Since I don't feel comfortable discussing the science behind Eagleman's research, I want to talk about the font on the piece.

Rigsby Hull, the Houston-based firm who designed the book, was inspired by a unique font they noticed in a reprint of a mid-1800s tome. As a result of this discovery, they developed a distinctive typeface — a revival and recreation of a font originally made by Jules Didot in the 1800s.

The Didot family had been in the printing, publishing and typography for generations. This new font is a variation of the time-honored classic Didot, but with rounded curves rather than sharp edges.

Rigsby Hull located the original 1842 volume of Jules Didot's fonts published as Specimen de la Nouvelle Foundrie in a collection at the Bibliothèque Nacional de France.

The font had never been commercialized so Rigsby Hull commissioned Dunwich Type Foundry to recut the font. This new version, dubbed Science Modern, is expected to be available for purchase in 2016.


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