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Typeface Review

Sodachrome

Reviewed by Frank Grießhammer on March 13, 2013

Display type invites experimentation and creativity, and fortunately Dan Rhatigan and Ian Moore have poured a lot of that into Sodachrome. I find the concept very appealing and I believe it pushes the boundaries of conventional type design.

First, Sodachrome is a chromatic typeface. That in itself is nothing new, but one of its inherent qualities is the way the two layers depend on each other. Chromaticism here is not only a visual gadget, but a faculty without which the design would not function.

Sodachrome consists of two individual fonts — left and right. Set by themselves, those fonts are (to say the least) very odd looking. But when set on top of each other, the two halves produce a whole: a beefy, sturdy serif face.

This is the moment where color — and genius — come into play: overprinting the two fonts in different colors results in beautiful, three-colored words, and immediately the viewer experiences a bright, refreshing look — the look of Sodachrome!

As an added bonus, the letter-halves have been drawn in a way that the overprinted middle reveals a modern sans-serif design. This is awesome.

Use Sodachrome for all kinds of work. I imagine everything crazy going perfectly well with it. Especially when using manual techniques (e.g. screen printing, risography, etc.) in combination with bright colors, fabulous results are ensured.

Sodachrome was designed some years ago, but it was only in 2012 that it became part of House Industries’ Photo-Lettering service; and I think there is really no better place for it. Leveraging the power of Photo-Lettering, designers will not have to go out of their way to achieve dazzling, chromatic effects. The Sodachrome experience is clear from the beginning … and users rejoice.

Finally, the name is just perfect! Sodachrome! No other typeface could be named like that.

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.

4 Comments

  1. Hrant says:

    I hadn’t noticed that the overlap of the two halves forms a nice “elemental” font! Quite impressive indeed.

  2. Absolutely brilliant. I am sick with envy. I so completely wish I had thought of this.

  3. Oded Ezer says:

    Simply brilliant and brilliantly simple.

  4. layyyshock says:

    That overprinted payoff is delicious.

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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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