Typeface Review


Reviewed by Ermin Međedović on March 19, 2015

As a fan of complex solutions in type design with a soft spot for useful rather than “nice” fonts, I noticed the Breve project as soon as it was released.

Breve is unquestionably a superfamily, a concept that Dino dos Santos had already explored with releases like Leitura and Diversa. It was only a matter of time until he took it to the next level. How much time? The answer is in the name: in Portuguese, breve means “short” or “soon”.

There are a lot of Breves: Title, Text, News, and Display. Serif, Sans, and Slab. Now, mix the former with the latter. There, more than enough styles for any editorial needs.

Title comes in Serif, Sans, and Slab, each in eight weights with matching italics.

With their strong character, carefully selected details (some “amputated” letters and numerals), rather compact proportions, and high x-height, all of the Titles are built to be editorial workhorses. With Breve Title’s ample weight palette, I can’t imagine any headline without its own personality. But Breve Title isn’t just for publication headlines; it would be useful in practically any field of design.

Text — like Title — comes in Serif, Sans, and Slab; this time in six weights with corresponding italics. The serif version, with its lower contrast, increased thickness, and preserving the same compact proportions, is perfect for longer reads.

Text Sans is a step removed from its Title cousin, with taller ascenders and a humanistic look, which makes it softer and easier to read.

Breve News, as its name suggests, is a typeface for narrow columns. I like to think that it served as the starting point for the entire Breve family. More classic than the other members of the family, Breve News is one of those typefaces that everybody sees but nobody notices.

And finally we come to two display members: Black and Stencil — with italics — and I think these are the moments when dos Santos really cuts loose and enjoys drawing.

With this superfamily, you’re not just getting a coherent set of tools for almost every aspect of every type-related problem. You’re not just getting every subtle tone you need for every word in your project. You’re getting a freaking philharmonic orchestra.

Ermin Međedović is a graphic and typeface designer living and working in Slovenia. He is a design director for Slovenian publishing house, Delo, and principal of Lettermin, a small type and design studio.

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