Confusion, pleasure, disbelief. That was my initial reaction to Post Grotesk, Josh Finklea’s design which, to my mind at least, seemed at once to have always existed, and yet still come with something new.
The guiding principle behind the Neo-Grotesk genre — so far as I’ve been able to follow it — is a careful study of the virtues of the Grotesk letter itself, not including further developments that span additional genres, but rather focusing in on those features peculiar to the Grotesk and incorporating them into one’s own contemporary design.
I can only imagine that work on Post Grotesk began with a long, serious look at Berthold’s Akzidenz-Grotesk. The face seems to also benefit from much of the airiness and eccentricities of say, Monotype Grotesque, with all its inherent playfulness, while also outwardly displaying a serious bite. In the final design, almost all overt signs of danger have been polished away, the jagged teeth of the cap ‘C’ filed down, leaving only furtive looks here and there, and the occasional oddly-cut terminal angle such as on the bar of the ‘4’ or ampersand out stroke, declaring, as it were, “I am what I am.”
The face’s relaxed fit, generous x-height, and linear forms go a long way toward establishing an inviting texture. Added interplay between curves of varying tension keeps the page from going too cold. Note, for example, the squareness of the lowercase ‘o’ versus the roundness of the ‘b’. Other details, such as the relatively intricate set of commas, quote marks, and apostrophes, thoughtful use of ligature features to substitute efficient, non-ligating forms, a set of stylistic alternates offering a substantially different feel and function, and its range of weights add to the face’s versatility. So ultimately, yes, I’m very pleased with it; I’m glad to see this kind of careful work within a genre and happy to add it to my favorites.
David Sudweeks is a letterer and type designer. He writes about design and works as Type Director at FontShop San Francisco.