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Typeface Review

Periódico

Reviewed by Carolina de Bartolo on January 25, 2012

Now that I’m of a certain age, once in a while I find myself lamenting all the books I’ll never read, all the places I’ll never visit, all the languages I’ll never speak, all the people I’ll never meet, all the diseases I’ll never catch.

Wait, let’s try that again.

Now that I’m of a certain age, once in a while I find myself lamenting all the books I’ll never read, all the places I’ll never visit, all the languages I’ll never speak, all the people I’ll never meet, all the typefaces I’ll never set.

Okay, that’s more like it.

The thing about lamenting all the typefaces I’ll never set is that, unlike all the other multitudes of things I’ll never accomplish in my lifetime, the fact that there are freakishly too many typefaces for any one individual to ever make use of is a fairly recent phenomenon. The digital revolution caused the number of available typefaces to grow from hundreds to thousands quite quickly. However, a large portion of that early surge was rubbish.

These days, we have legions of highly-skilled type designers releasing excellent typefaces every month and several fine educational programs in type design turning out new talent every semester. Like all the great books, places, languages and people in the world, contemplating the sheer volume of stunning typefaces is magnificent, and bittersweet.

Periódico is one of those lovely new typefaces that I probably would have never set had I not been hired as a typesetting consultant for WIRED magazine’s recent redesign. Not that I did not admire it, but I might have dismissed it for being too similar to some serif text faces I already use. After setting it for the last few months, I now appreciate how a few of its bony-shaped glyphs like ‘a’ and ‘g’, along with its chunky sharp serifs, give this face a subtle vitality on the page that is unlike most others of its genre. I also enjoy the elegant script-like gestures of its boldest italic weights.

The designer, Eduardo Manso of Emtype in Barcelona, seems to have followed the trajectory of many of today’s fine type designers, starting his career with more experimental alphabets (Eroxion and ITC Merss) and moving into the design of more legible, sophisticated faces like Periódico, as well as his splendid Relato family and the popular Geogrotesque.

As you might expect from a face originally designed for a newspaper and even named with the Spanish word for “newspaper”, Periódico comes in an ample range of weights: 20 for display (with higher stroke contrast) and 10 for text, making it a highly versatile and appealing editorial choice. Muy simpático.

Carolina de Bartolo teaches typography and design history in San Francisco. She is the designer, author and publisher of “Explorations in Typography”, a project that provided her the joyful opportunity to set hundreds of beautiful typefaces.

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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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