Systematization is at the root of type design: one develops a formula to create a unified visual presence while maintaining visual diversity of characters. Few formulas can be explained as simply as Grilli Type’s GT Sectra: felt pen + broad nib pen + scalpel knife. The combination of these tools is deft in both concept and execution and, despite a gimmicky premise, the result is a workhorse serif.
Blackletter has seen a rebirth in recent years; moving beyond a past of oppression and homogeneity, it has come to stand more for diversity and a human touch. Calligraphic forms are ever-present in type, but GT Sectra reworks an unchampioned contrast from a broad nib into traditional constructed letterforms.
Of course, the ultimate genius of this formula lies in the surgical slices of the “scalpel knife”. The excess curves of calligraphy are simplified as curves are converted to corners, building a fantastic tension. To paraphrase Matthew Carter: “Technology suggests something to the designer. As technology changes, designers get caught up in that and inspired by that.” Like this year’s Minotaur, it is fun to see the curve/corner binary of the computer flipped on its head. Sectra has found the right balance.
Patch Hofweber is a designer based in Malmö, Sweden.