LiebeDoris began with brush and ink on large paper, and much of what makes it one of my favorites this year springs from that beginning. Ulrike Rausch, inspired by a workshop with the American sign painter Mike Meyer, created this lovely little brush lettering family that inspires a bit of love in my own heart.
LiebeDoris has an honest economy to its form (good for commerce!) that marries well with its basic informality. It’s the freedom to be imperfect that, for me, makes it perfect. To quote an online ad by Meyer: “I am good but not perfect, so dedicated nitpickers and chronically unhappy should seek elsewhere.”
But in embracing this inspiration, Rausch avoids the fiddly or kooky nature that can come with that permission to be imperfect. It makes me wonder if Rausch pulls off the balance of friendly imperfection and unifying craft with such visual ease because she is not of the culture that inspired her. Perhaps, as a Berlin-based designer/illustrator, she can capture the essence of this style of American brush lettering so well because she shares Meyer’s love of letters, but brings a host of other reference points?
Whatever the reason, I am continually delighted by LiebeDoris’ balance of spirit and crispness, of variation and harmony. I can’t get enough of those capital ‘R’s and ‘L’s that sweep under the baseline, or that ‘W’ that sweeps upward. The personality of LiebeDoris seems captured in those moments. Rausch herself says, “Rather than being one typeface with different weights, think of LiebeDoris as a package of four individual designs that go together very well.” When combined with OpenType’s automatic replacement capabilities, and some commercial sign elements and ornaments, it’s the kind of typeface you’ll either use for every label in the store, or reserve for a few special spots like the storefront window.
Chris Rugen lives in Philadelphia, where his wife and daughter endure his longstanding fascination with type’s unique role in culture and communication. He splits his time between his home and NYC, working as a Design Director at Columbia University.