I’ve only recently become interested in scripts. Perhaps that’s unusual to hear from a typographer, but my background is in book design, where there is little room for fussy display types. Modern and mature script offerings have burgeoned in recent years, and we seem to be moving away from the frilly fonts of the past.
Braxton drew me in immediately because it appears simultaneously contemporary and traditional, edgy and pretty. It’s also versatile: it could be treated in a lively fashion, or it could be simply typeset and left alone. Most scripts do a great job with display but fall short when used for a paragraph of text, but not this one. It actually works well as text, and does so again and again in its variety of weights.
The alternates, the capitals in particular, are suitably different from the primary glyphs with their swoopy, humanist, and more delicate feel. With the exception of the too-fiddly ‘br’ and ‘bs’, the ligatures are interesting without being overly distracting, and the ‘fi’ and ‘ff’ are particularly exquisite. The Bold and Black weights are more interesting than the Light, but perhaps that’s due to more personality showing through the contrast.
Braxton integrates clever calligraphic details that bring visual interest to the forms: the triangular tittle; the tick of a downstroke at the top of the ‘s’, ‘c’, and ‘f’; the separated strokes in the ‘e’. However, I would prefer slightly longer descenders, and the lowercase ‘p’ could be a bit more closed. The tittles could have a smaller or less attention-grabbing alternate, and some of the connecting strokes, like the ‘ax’ combination in the name “Braxton” itself, need to be adjusted.
I have a feeling that we’ll see Braxton used often, since a simplified version is offered for free on the FontFabric site. But I hope that people will upgrade to get the multiple weights, ligatures, and alternates — they are certainly worth it.
Dr. Shelley Gruendler, founder of Type Camp, is a typographer, designer, and educator who teaches, lectures, and publishes internationally on typography and design. She holds a PHD and an MA in the History and Theory of Typography and Graphic Communication from the University of Reading, England.