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Typeface Review

Colfax

Reviewed by Marc Oxborrow on March 13, 2013

From new designs to revivals, 2012 was a banner year for Geometrics and Grotesques. Some I admired; others left me cold. Colfax charmed me.

I’m not sure how often “charming” is the adjective used to describe a geometric sans serif, much less one that is the proud descendant of DIN and Neuzeit. Yet I’m delighted by Colfax, the 12-member family from Process Type Foundry formerly called Chrono.

From the “implied geometry” (designer Eric Olson’s phrase) of its near-perfect circles to the almost-naïve simplicity of the figures in the lighter weights and the winking seriousness of its black, Colfax manages to balance rigor and expression in an unpretentious way.

Named after a street in the designer’s hometown of Minneapolis, Colfax will do an honest day’s work, setting a nice even gray for text; handling tables, sidebars, labels, and charts with ease; and happily throwing its weights around to provide contrast with other, more self-serious faces. But like the best colleagues, Colfax does it all with an easy smile that makes the heavy lifting a little less heavy.

Marc Oxborrow is an art director, speaker, musician and would-be type designer in Phoenix, Arizona.

One Comment

  1. Colfax marked the return of the oval-bellied ‘a’! What impresses me is that Colfax shares this conspicuous feature with a bunch of other recent faces; plus it lives in a stylistic space with DIN, one of the most omnipresent typefaces of our time; and yet it has a feeling all its own. André Mora’s use of the heavy weights in Seattle Met illustrate that nicely.

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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 and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

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