Typeface Review


Reviewed by Ivo Gabrowitsch on January 25, 2012

“Siri” made quite a splash in 2011. Two splashes, to be more precise: one in the shape of Apple’s software assistant, and another as Göran Söderström’s new sans serif typeface. Not the same size of splash, of course, but Siri the typeface, came first.

Göran Söderström, who already deserved kudos for typefaces like Satura, FF Dagny, and Meadow, launched Siri as the foundation for his promising new foundry, Letters from Sweden. And it’s a good start, a very distinct sans serif with a strong character. The slightly condensed letterforms save space and the large x-height aids readability. Siri is a Nordic name (also the name of his newborn daughter) combining the concepts of beauty and strength – fitting attributes for this family of 16 styles, from Thin to Black. Four OpenType stylistic sets, including alternates for ‘l’, ‘g’, ‘a’, and ‘t’ that allow room for even more individuality.

Perhaps even more interesting is Siri Core, a redesigned and hand-hinted version of the four basic weights: Regular, Italic, Bold, and Bold Italic. With a focus on screen performance, Söderström optimized both letterspacing and some critical details of the lettershapes. The results speak for themselves. This version also offers Siri’s alternates as a separate, CSS-accessible family: Siri Core Schoolbook.

Siri grabbed my attention right from the beginning, as it is one of the most feminine type designs that I’ve seen from a male designer. Among myriad new sans serif typefaces, it has a remarkably original character. Beyond a fresh appearance, Siri responds to today’s technical challenges, especially regarding webfonts. This kind of forward-thinking should be the rule, rather than an exception. Siri sets my expectations high for future Letters from Sweden.

Ivo Gabrowitsch is the founder of Fontwerk, an international type foundry and provider of innovative font engineering and type design services. Prior to that, he worked as FontShop International’s Marketing Director until they got acquired by Monotype, where he then lead the marketing for their Digital Commerce group including MyFonts, FontShop, Fonts.com, Linotype.com, and FontExplorerX.com. Ivo invented the pageview licensing for webfonts, started the Berlin Typostammtisch, and planted a few fruit-bearing trees in his garden.

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