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Typeface Review

Pufff

Reviewed by Frank Grießhammer on March 11, 2014

Do you fancy extremely fat mathematical operators? Maybe you need a fat, inverted interrobang, to set bold sentences of dis­belief, even in Spanish? How about some ultra-fat small caps and a full set of very heavy superiors?

Look no further than Pufff.

Pufff is a very fat typeface. In fact, Pufff is so fat that installing it on your computer will make the machine noticeably heavier.

What is remarkable about Pufff?

  • Pufff is not ashamed of its fatness. Pufff even boasts the titles “King of Cellulite” and “Undisputed Heavy­weight Champion of Fonts”.
  • Pufff stretches the font-naming paradigm by tripling consonants, an area that has previously only been ex­plor­ed very minimally.
  • I like that Pufff includes the characters “HEAVY DOUBLE TURNED COMMA QUOTATION MARK ORNAMENT” and its friends (all the cool, heavy quotes from Zapf Dingbats!). Many more fonts should include those glyphs. Pufff even has three variations of each!
  • Pufff is so fat that the counters are gone. Yet, letter and word shapes remain amazingly “readable” — or at least identifiable. Despite this general rule, not all letters lose their counters. The Greek Xi (Ξ) or Theta (Θ) and the Cyrillic Shcha (Щ) introduce hints of counterspace, simply for the sake of preserving legibility.

    Other solutions, like the lowercase ‘xi’ (ξ), are just amazing exercises in abstraction.

    All of those decisions are a testament to Rob Keller’s abilities as a type designer — even in such a silly genre, it is obvious that he knows what he’s doing.

  • In Pufff, manicules are boxing gloves. Awesome.

Where might Pufff be used?

  • Pufff was originally designed as a custom typeface for an exhibition at the Mota Italic Gallery. This implies that signage and exhibition design are natural territory for Pufff.
  • I think that Pufff might not work very well on traffic signs, but probably is perfect pretty much anywhere else. Designers of book covers, handbills, and posters for advertising acid house parties, or of food and lifestyle magazines, will delight over the bold letter shapes of Pufff.
  • One thing that can be done with Pufff better than any other font: filling letters with images.

The well-prepared typographer’s toolbox should contain Pufff. With extensive pan-European language support, Greek, Cyrillic, and even a handful of arrows, dingbats, and the latest currency symbols, Keller brings the ultra-fat genre to a new level. In many respects, his Pufff goes leaps and bounds further than fonts of the display variety usually do.

Frank Grießhammer studied Communication Design at HBKsaar in Saarbrücken, Germany and at ISIA Firenze, Italy. He received a master’s degree in typeface design from Type & Media at KABK Den Haag in 2010. After working for FontShop International in Berlin, he joined the Adobe Type Team in 2011.

3 Comments

  1. JLT says:

    This might be my favorite typeface review of the decade.

  2. Hector says:

    I hope it is so much fun to use as it was to read the review.

  3. I personally don’t like the typeface but the review is pretty convincing and makes me like it.

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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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