Inknut, designed by Claus Eggers Sørensen, is a paradox in that it is a modern cut of an historical style. History reveals itself in the Regular weight, which has an aroma of Columbus, Monotype’s 1992 celebration of Spanish printing. The Extra Bold has an unexpected gust of Cooper Black, Oswald Cooper’s advertising display face released precisely seventy years earlier.
Modernity surfaces with the clever ink traps. When enlarged, Inknut has all the quirky appearances of Bell Centennial, the typeface that grunge graphic designers so loved at larger, and therefore unintended, sizes. The traps are most evident in the leg of the cap ‘R’, so take a (magnified) peek at it when you have a chance.
The bowl of the cap ‘P’ and ‘R’, as well as the ‘6’, don’t connect to the stems; the top left of the ‘t’ is a solid triangle above the crossbar. The ‘L’ seems very wrong, but is in fact very right, and the horizontal top of the lower bowl of the ‘a’ is far too horizontal, but also works well. The ‘g’ is gawky, yet balanced, with an unexpected “elbow” in its tail. My only concern, although inconsequential, is the weight of the ear on the Extra Bold ‘g’.
Inknut, with its low x-height, is a squat face with strong horizontal movement even at small sizes. The chunky serifs at the base of the letters, most evident in the ‘m’ and the ‘r’, steer the eye to the right, facilitating readability. I’m rather fond of the flag-waving ‘v’ and ‘w’, which use their upper right serifs to point back to the left.
The capitals have a lighter appearance; therefore, when used within a block of text, they fit into their surroundings, gaining attention with their structure rather than with additional weight. Although the lighter weights of Inknut set fairly heavy, they work surprisingly well with tight leading, which seems to be the necessary setting these days. It will work extremely well for screen reading and web applications, and will be equally at home in print for both display and text. Inknut also appears to have nearly every Latin- and Devanagari-based language covered, so I look forward to seeing it used “in the wild”.
Inknut demonstrates what can happen when a person with an excellent eye for both historical and present-day type design attempts something new — and succeeds.
Dr. Shelley Gruendler, founder of Type Camp, is a typographer, designer, and educator who teaches, lectures, and publishes internationally on typography and design. She holds a PHD and an MA in the History and Theory of Typography and Graphic Communication from the University of Reading, England.