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Typeface Review


Reviewed by Tânia Raposo on March 11, 2014

The specimen unpretentiously describes Audree as “a variable type system with several hundred styles”. That is factually correct, but it is probably not enough to describe the breadth of this project.

Audree could be categorized as a multiparametric display typeface system — but that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, either.

How about this? Audree is like a writer with hundreds of heteronyms who all stem from the same base but are very distinct, and who end up creating their own worlds. Imagine the sort of writer one would have to be to create so many different characters! Perhaps a writer a bit like Fernando Pessoa, who created around 70 heteronyms. Audree goes even further than that.

This family’s many styles are all based on the same skeleton combined with lots of parameters:

  • The construction models of expansion and trans­lation contrast (pointed nib and broad-edged nib) yield two different modulation variations.
  • One parameter is the contrast: offering both high and low contrast brings the number of styles to four.
  • Elements of decoration available for Audree are inline and stencil, and a combination of both. Including a non-decorated style, this means that sixteen different permutations are possible with these parameters.
  • Finally, it is possible to spice things up with fifteen (!) different serif constructions.
  • As far as I can grasp, Audree must have been quite the challenge. After all, “several hundred” styles means the same number of source files, lots of organization, and probably also lots of automation. Given the sheer breadth of the project, Audree must have been incre­dibly difficult to design, manage, promote, and prepare for sale.

    I don’t know how Nikola Djurek and Marko Hrastovec found a way around the first two problems, but they certainly came up with some great ideas for selling and promoting Audree. Typonine’s site features an Audree App that allows you to combine your very own pers­onal Audree variation, and the license is compet­itively priced.

    There are styles — 240 of them, to be precise — to suit all tastes. Looking for something classic? Try E13 (Serif Style 5, Trans­lation, High Contrast, Normal Style). Or maybe you really love San Francisco and you want a typeface that has a lot of hills and freeways, in which case you could use H15 (Serif Style 8, Trans­lation, High Contrast, Inline). What if you’re starting a metal band and you want to have some edgy serifs in your new logo? I would suggest K2 (Serif Style 8, Expansion, Low Contrast, Stencil).

    Whenever Typonine releases a new typeface, I get excited because I know it’s going to be something special. Audree doesn’t disappoint. Oh, and be sure to watch the Audree video. Typonine is not only setting a new standard for inventive typefaces, it is also the foundry with the best typeface videos!

    Tânia Raposo is a graphic and type designer living in the beautiful island of Mallorca. Where she divides her heart between design and food. She studied at ESAD.CR Caldas da Rainha and KABK in The Hague, where she got her Type & Media Master’s degree.

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Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles with Caren Litherland and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

Set in Bureau Grot by Font Bureau, Nocturno Display by Nikola Djurek, Fern (unreleased) by David Jonathan Ross, and JAF Bernini Sans by Tim Ahrens.

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