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Typeface Review


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

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