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Typeface Review

Swagg

Reviewed by Hrant Papazian on January 25, 2012

Many fonts that start – and often end – life as a branding project tend to slap some gimmick on a pedestrian base and call it a day.

At first blush the “some-serif” nature of Swagg makes it seem like another such case, but quickly the face asserts itself as a legit, streetwise player – as its teenspeak name hints. The hefty x-height, the steep joins of the arches, the Rotis ‘c’, the bravado of the ‘r’ (where typical sans fonts lose readability through a contagion of loose spacing), the fist-pumping ‘g’ and ampersand, the fearlessly filled-in ‘@’ and ‘®’ signs all convey a carriage of youthful confidence. Paradoxically, perhaps, Swagg’s particular profusion of flavor actually makes text more readable than with a plain sans.

Swagg includes Greek in its character complement, which is highly welcome. It does, however, exhibit some problems: there’s a visible mismatch in density compared to the Latin, likely due to its marked tightness; some lowercase letters seem too narrow; in contrast to the Latin’s Italic, Greek’s strong tradition of cursive structures has been ignored; and the non-terminal sigma seems too constructed. But one thing that brings a smile to the mind is the distinctly Greek feel of the numerals. All in all, as Miller Type Foundry’s very first foray into non-Latin type, Swagg is an effort to be encouraged.

With its five weights, blowhard attitude, and good readability Swagg nicely stands out from the sans drones, earning a Strong Buy Recommendation. Early adopters of this fresh face stand to inherit its singular street cred.

Hrant Papazian is an Armenian native of Lebanon; his perspective on written communication was formed at the crossroads of three competing visual cultures. He now lives in Los Angeles. A recipient of type design awards from Critique magazine, Granshan and Creative Review, Hrant has delivered numerous presentations at international typographic conferences from Boston to Bangkok.

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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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