Typeface Review

Ambicase Fatface

Reviewed by Grant Hutchinson on January 25, 2012

Typographically speaking, there are a couple of things that always get me lathered up. The first is the sweet, contrasty strokes of a Didone. Secondly, a typeface ripe with glyphic cleverness that stokes the fire within. Toss those ingredients into the pot with some seriously weighty chunks of beef and … oh my!

Nomenclative rhyming aside, Craig Eliason’s beautifully odd Ambicase Fatface incorporates all of these criteria as well as any typeface I have seen. Building on Craig’s previously released Ambicase Modern, this heftier hybrid is loaded with all the OpenType pizzazz, intelligent swashiness, and headline-hugging attitude of its lighter weight, single-case sibling.

Organic swashes and blended shapes create unexpected partnerships, remixing the aesthetic of previous generations. In particular, the frill of Caslon italic swashes and the delicate forms of a lowercase Bodoni are evident in Craig’s consistently inventive constructions. The uniform case is perfectly suited to large display settings, with the stylistic swoops and swirls adding subtle – and more importantly, appropriate – playfulness as required.

If you’re intrigued by this style of compound type design, do yourself a favor and peruse Mr. Eliason’s entertaining and insightful essay on the making of Ambicase Modern in the first issue of Codex: The Journal of Typography.

Grant Hutchinson appreciates typography, photographs suburbia, accumulates gadgets, and sweats the details in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys black coffee, low-bit synthpop, geometric shapes, single malts, juggling, and the smell of a freshly tarred roof. A shelf in his office sports a Diploma in Visual Arts from the Alberta College of Art & Design (now the Alberta University of the Arts) and an Emmy Award for his technical work during the 1988 Winter Olympics. He is currently a board member of the Society of Typographic Aficionados and head glyph monkey at Typostrophe.


  1. Celebrating its inclusion on this list, Ambicase Fatface is now 30% off at MyFonts.

  2. I wonder if I can get a retroactive discount? After all, I did purchase it specifically to produce this very review and specimen. Hmmm …

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