Typeface Review


Reviewed by Sibylle Hagmann on May 9, 2016

I have a weakness for font families that are colorful — each face a character of kinfolk, unlike the inflated and identical thick-to-thin twinning that defines our digital-type times.

César Puertas’ Buendia makes a harmonious melody its trait, sounding over the predictable tonal scale of ups and downs. My appreciation of this family stems not only from its jovial look-and-feel, but also from its conscious conceptual effort to offer typographers garden-variety versatile tools without forfeiting consistency.

This family, with its deceptively minimal range, cont­ains a complete text and display suite, each with a clear application in mind. Small footprint indeed, the weights provided are spot-on! All six Buendia styles share the same underlying framework, differentiating themselves with various characteristics and narratives. This unconventional family includes three sans weights (Thin, Medium and ExtraBold), two serifs (Regular and Italic), and one Bold slab. Each weight takes a measured cue from the brush for movement and stroke definition, while the romantic and vivid italic serif embraces the brush, the fullest lending top and bottom stems little swashy loops.

This is a family you want to befriend, not only for its kindness, but also for its endorsement of multi­generationality. Each affiliate connotes a hint of a different time period — from the serifs, which allude to a past era of leisurely picnics-at-the-lake-in-elegant-clothes (minus any austerity), to the Sans and Bold, clearly anchored in contemporary roundedness.

The type flaunts some enchanting informal idiosync­rasies. Take a look at the lower case ‘a’, with its low bowl and inward bowing top terminal; this latter feature recurs throughout the system, which gives the face in aggregate a confident and stable upright position. The assertiveness of the top serifs of the uppercase ‘T’ is almost theatrical in the way it demonstrates their repetitive unilateral mechanics. The type plays hide-and-seek with slightly outward arched sans stems, barely visible in the thin, and most apparent in the extrabold.

I look forward to seeing this type employed with a vision, as no twin will willingly stand in for another. There have been some contemporary type releases that might be compared to one or another weight of this crowd, but none comes close to being part of a bigger idea.

Sibylle Hagmann began her career in Switzerland at the Basel School of Design and later explored her passion for type in California, while completing her MFA at CalArts. During this time she developed typefaces, most notably the award-winning Cholla. In 2000 she founded the studio and foundry Kontour, and has taught at the University of Houston’s School of Art since 2002.

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