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Typeface Review

Odesta

Reviewed by Dyana Weissman on March 11, 2014

I hate this typeface.

I hate it because I wish I had drawn it myself. But I didn’t. And even if I had, who is to say whose would be better? It doesn’t matter, because this is excellent, and there is no need to even try.

When in conversation with people who know nothing about fonts, once they find out about my job, they in­vari­ably ask what my favorite typeface is. I’ve always found that question to be awkward. It’s difficult to answer when one makes, but rarely uses, the thing under discussion. I feel like an asshole saying, “I like the one that I made for this well-known, high-end client” — it’s self-absorbed and pretentious. I appre­ciate a high-quality typeface, of course, but I’m not a graphic designer, so I have no reason to license one. In answer to this question, I usually just give the name of a typeface I admire to keep the conversation flowing.

But this… this is a typeface I want. And that is an incredibly rare thing. This captures what I would want for myself so perfectly (without me even knowing that until I saw it), that I have been thinking about it. In fact, I don’t want anyone else to have it. I want perpet­ual exclusivity. I know that’s silly (and expensive), and that Ondrej can’t agree to that now that Odesta is out there. I take solace in knowing that now everyone else can license it and put it on everything BECAUSE THEY SHOULD PUT IT ON EVERYTHING.

More specifically, I love Odesta’s perfectly round ball terminals. (I often make them in my own sketches.) They lend themselves well to the pochoir/stencil effect, but this is also a script, which is lovely. It has some beautiful curves. The ‘M’. The ‘k’. The ‘r’… Especially the ‘r’. I make an ‘r’ like that in my hand­writing just because I love the shape so much. And, oh yes, that high contrast. So elegant! All of these ele­ments together should be a total mess, but here, they come together quite nicely. There is a bit of stiffness to it, but I know where it comes from, and I forgive it. What Ondrej pulled off here is pretty amazing.

Odesta is a little bit bonkers, and that’s why I love it. I could never truly hate it.

Dyana Weissman is a typeface designer at Font Bureau. She has been a presenter at ATypI, TypeCon, and Type Camp, but also enjoys sharing her expertise locally with college students, wizard rock bands, and astrophysicists.

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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 and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

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