Commissioned as a replacement for the Wall Street Journal’s DowText, Exchange was unveiled when the European and Asian editions switched to tabloid format in October.
I can’t say that I love this typeface (honestly, warm and fuzzy likability is usually beside the point in a news text face) but I certainly am fascinated by it. To me, Exchange is the logical endpoint for most the current trends in news text faces because it uses every trick in the book: exaggerated ink traps, demonstrative faceting, and “chopped” ball terminals. But the real genius of this face is that it still has enough formal ties to DowText that I really doubt whether many of the readers will notice a difference. Although the individual character shapes are radically different, the basic weight, proportion, and character are the same. I suspect that the WSJ’s readers will simply find one day that their daily paper is suddenly easier to read.
Christian Schwartz is a type designer, typography consultant, and co-founder of Commercial Type in New York City. He was awarded the prestigious Prix Charles Peignot in 2007 and his work has been selected many times as Typographica Favorites.