Typeface Review

Cadogan

Reviewed by Mark Simonson on March 11, 2014

Cadogan is not the the most legible typeface ever designed, but boy is it stylish. To me it looks a bit like Carpenter Script reimagined with the aesthetic sensibility of The Jetsons.

It looks like something you might see on an automobile from the early ’60s. The caps are built with energetic, angular gestures; the lowercase looks like a skinny bolt of lightning.

Cadogan could be written off as yet another “retro” script, but there’s more to it than that. Yes, there is an element of mid-century visual style there, but there’s also a bit of ’80s New Wave vibe and a big dose of Hughes’ personal style. I don’t know anybody else who makes a capital ‘E’ in that stair-step style like he does. The same idea pops up in some of his other faces.

I’m also reminded of the first of Rian Hughes’ type­faces I remember noticing — Cottingly (1993). Cottingly was different in a lot of ways. For one thing, it was lowercase only. The cap positions were used to allow the crossbar of the ‘t’ to extend over any of the other characters. It was also backslanted. But it had the same tiny, knotty lowercase — like a tangled, stretched-out phone cord. Cadogan takes it in a different direc­tion — literally.

Having been made twenty years later, Cadogan is more technically sophisticated as well. Thanks to OpenType magic, certain glyphs automatically change as you type, depending on context. For example, the crossbar on the ‘t’ will extend over the next two characters if there is room. This gives every setting a more custom appearance.

All in all, Cadogan is a really cool typeface. I’m not sure what I’d use it for, but I love the way it looks and it sure is fun to use.

Mark Simonson of Saint Paul, Minnesota is a former art director and graphic designer who now makes his living designing typefacesseveral of which are Typographica selections.

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