In 1992 or ’93 I had a discussion with David Siegel, an early digital type star for his commercial hits – Tekton and Graphite, which were based on architect-style handwriting. At that time he was excited about an upcoming font format that would allow for multiples of each character. Handwriting fonts, he said, were hampered by their lack of variation and spontaneity. That format, TrueType GX, was indeed released shortly after that conversation but never delivered on that particular promise.
Siegel’s future has finally arrived and rising type designers have been doing fantastic things with OpenType’s huge playground. This year, Laura Worthington shines with Alana, a contemporary handwriting script that can play casual or formal, equally effortlessly. With hundreds of alternates and a few handy ligatures (Alana Pro also includes dozens of lovely ornaments), it’s a delight to keep trying different things with it. You can rein it in as you need to or let it flourish; it seems happy either way.
I chose Alana for the main identity of Rita Moreno’s autobiographical show at Berkeley Repertory Theatre this past fall. Though I didn’t take full advantage of the font’s features for the logo, its essential character came through, even with its default glyphs. Like Rita herself, Alana is just the right mix of playful and sophisticated, rough and polished. An instant classic.