TDC2 winner Darka is a fine achievement — not only for its crisp tension and accomplished nuances, but also for its sheer inventiveness. Blackletter fonts have been revived periodically in past years, but Martinez Meave seems too enamored of the spirit of blackletter to create a mere copy of an historical design.
Instead, he has thrown the revivalists’ rules out the window and, operating from what is obviously a firm understanding of blackletter forms, has created a hybrid which combines elements of gothic cursives, frakturs (uppercase and ascenders) and French lettre bâtardes (lowercase) with a hint of the Spanish-influenced Rotundas thrown in for good measure. Purists may wrinkle their noses at it, but I find it an attractive and accomplished example of what someone can create from an understanding — and not mere appropriation — of historical forms. — Mark Jamra
Mark Jamra is a type designer and professor of graphic design at Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. He has designed and produced typefaces for over 30 years, and runs TypeCulture, a digital type foundry and educational resource. He is also a partner of JamraPatel, a type design studio specializing in non-Latin typefaces.