Typographically speaking, there are a couple of things that always get me lathered up. The first is the sweet, contrasty strokes of a Didone. Secondly, a typeface ripe with glyphic cleverness that stokes the fire within. Toss those ingredients into the pot with some seriously weighty chunks of beef and … oh my!
Nomenclative rhyming aside, Craig Eliason’s beautifully odd Ambicase Fatface incorporates all of these criteria as well as any typeface I have seen. Building on Craig’s previously released Ambicase Modern, this heftier hybrid is loaded with all the OpenType pizzazz, intelligent swashiness, and headline-hugging attitude of its lighter weight, single-case sibling.
Organic swashes and blended shapes create unexpected partnerships, remixing the aesthetic of previous generations. In particular, the frill of Caslon italic swashes and the delicate forms of a lowercase Bodoni are evident in Craig’s consistently inventive constructions. The uniform case is perfectly suited to large display settings, with the stylistic swoops and swirls adding subtle – and more importantly, appropriate – playfulness as required.
If you’re intrigued by this style of compound type design, do yourself a favor and peruse Mr. Eliason’s entertaining and insightful essay on the making of Ambicase Modern in the first issue of Codex: The Journal of Typography.
Grant Hutchinson lives in Calgary, Alberta. His background includes a Diploma in Visual Arts from the Alberta College of Art & Design (ACAD), an Emmy Award for his technical work during the 1988 Winter Olympics, and being one of the founders of Veer. He is a contributing editor of Typedia and currently wears the hat of head glyph monkey at Typostrophe and Fairgoods.