Analyzing how typefaces change their tone of voice across their weights, and how certain properties (robust, elegant, sturdy) are automatically assigned to certain stroke widths, he devised a weight system that incorporates a transition from rigid to smooth.
Bringing together so many parameters in a cohesive concept, Alda seems like the perfect Type & Media project, which is where its design was first conceived. In his documentation booklet, Berton talks about the desire of learning “as much as possible” in the one-year master course, and therefore assigned himself this very intensive graduation project.
The bold extreme of Alda was drawn with the properties of the broad-nib pen in mind, giving it a strength and sturdiness, characterized by angular joints and heavy serifs. Hasebe refers to this style as having the tension of bent metal, which is easy to see.
The light weight, however, as is especially evident in the italic, is very fluid, referencing the tension of a rubber band. The elegant, refined appearance comes from the underlying construction derived from writing with a pointed nib.
The regular style presents a middle weight between the two extremes, and – refreshingly – was not simply interpolated. Instead, it borrows features from either of the two extremes and tones them down just enough to make for an excellent type to be used in running text. The light and heavy weights clearly have their strengths in display settings, but I can also see them used in conjunction with the regular weight. Of course, Alda has everything you need in a modern text typeface, like different figure styles, ligatures and small caps. With this set of features, I see Alda performing outstandingly in the fields of advertising and publication design, especially magazines.
Frank Grießhammer studied Communication Design at HBKsaar in Saarbrücken, Germany and at ISIA Firenze, Italy. He received a master’s degree in typeface design from Type & Media at KABK Den Haag in 2010. After working for FontShop International in Berlin, he joined the Adobe Type Team in 2011.