Typeface Review

Aften Screen

Reviewed by Michael Surtees on March 13, 2013

Aften Screen cuts through the majority of bland screen-only fonts by being confident enough in what it chooses to display as much as in what it doesn’t show.

I spend a majority of my time reading on screen, whether it’s on a Retina display or a monitor with a lower resolution. What drew me immediately to wanting to read text in Aften Screen was how easy the typeface was on my eyes. Aften Screen doesn’t scream “look at me!”, but elegantly combines characters in a subtle and sophisticated manner.

Type testing with words like “city”, “upgrade”, and “renderings” shows how the extended ascenders and descenders fit nicely together and with other characters. By extension, reading with Aften Screen is a great study in flow. One simple example is the lowercase word “supreme”: As the eye surfs over the top of each letter, it seamlessly floats to the next.

Aften Screen sample words

Continuing with my type tests, I would drop in long paragraphs of type, short quotes, and the occasional favorite word. As I experimented with different sizes from extremely small to giant, uppercase to sentence case, I was inspired. I wanted to start using Aften Screen for unimagined projects. As a screen-only typeface, I could see how it could be used in many applications. I was really struck by how versatile it could be — from straightforward workhorse applications to long reads. I could see myself using one weight and size for an entire project without it feeling stale. On the flip side, I could also see it being used elegantly with a subtle range of weights and sizes.

Aften Screen is one of those unique typefaces that could be used daily without fear of being lost within too much eccentricity, while at the same time displaying some new aspect of its character in each application.

Michael Surtees is a product design director and practitioner of user experience design (UXD) based in NYC. Currently he is the Head of Design at Dataminr designing early warning and detection systems for clients in News, Finance and the Public Sector.

One Comment

  1. Ian says:

    Aften Screen comes with bold and italic and a separate small caps. I hope that the typeface gets expanded to have bold italics and bold small caps. Without the bold italics, for example, it can get limiting to specify a heading with bold.

    I agree with what you said about readability and a pleasant onscreen presence. The type is very clear on the screen, even at small sizes. In particular, the small caps have really lovely proportions.

    The designer was inspired by the National typeface, but wanted to carve out a unique use for screen-based designers.

Post a Comment

Comments at Typographica are moderated and copyedited, just like newspaper “Letters to the Editor”. Abusive or off-topic comments are not published. We appreciate compliments, but don’t publish them unless they add to the dialog. Thank you!