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Typeface Review

FF Trixie HD

Reviewed by Ben Kiel on April 4, 2009

The reissue of a typeface that was first released way back before The X-Files first aired in 1993 isn’t usually cause for nomination to a “Best Fonts of 2008” list. But when Erik van Blokland reworks his original distressed typewriter typeface to solve fundamental problems with the category of distressed type, it more than earns that nomination.

FF Trixie, re-released as FF Trixie HD, solves the usual coarse resolution of most ’90s grunge type (blow them up past 120pt and marvel at the PostScript blobs). Taking advantage of an increase in the allowed number of points a font can have, Erik increased the detail of the font (it now weighs in with 17 million points) so that it can be used without concern for lack of resolution. Additionally, by combining seven different versions of each glyph and OpenType substitutions, it also dodges the tell-tale “hey, it’s a font because those two ‘e’s are exactly the same” problem with most distressed type.

Throw in, for good measure and fun, “censorship”, “Greek”, and “Cyrillic” OpenType features and it is the only distressed typewriter font one will ever need.

Ben Kiel is a typeface designer and educator. He runs Typefounding, a typeface design and production studio in Saint Louis, Missouri. Previously he was a typeface designer at House Industries. He teaches at Washington University in Saint Louis and the Type@Cooper program in New York City.

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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.

Set in Bureau Grot by Font Bureau, Nocturno Display by Nikola Djurek, Fern (unreleased) by David Jonathan Ross, and JAF Bernini Sans by Tim Ahrens.

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