Typeface Review


Reviewed by Dan Reynolds on January 25, 2012

A new face for text, Cassia deserves a spot among the most interesting work from 2011. Every typeface has a narrative behind it, but first let’s explore Cassia’s design details:

Cassia is a monolinear serif with a relatively tall x-height. The most interesting visual aspect of the face is that it feels very round, without being rounded; a closer look at the serifs reveals just straight lines and corners. However, in both the upright and italic styles, Cassia features a number of ball terminals which are neither too small, nor too large. The family offers 10 fonts across five weights. Each cut includes over 700 glyphs and all the features I expect from a good text font release these days.

Cassia is one of eight type families currently available from Hoftype, Dietrich Hofrichter’s independent label. Hofrichter also played a key role in the development of several families at the storied Berthold foundry. Seeing Cassia’s work on MyFonts a few months ago was the bait, but some personal historical details formed the hook that caught me.

During the phototype era, H. Berthold AG produced the highest-quality typefaces available for use in West Germany – or anywhere in the world, according to some typesetters. Much of that worldwide respect is due to the energy of the late Günter Gerhard Lange. Hofrichter began working together with Lange during the late 1980s, and Cassia recalls the sturdiness of Berthold’s best text types.

As our current century moves forward, I hope to see more typefaces made with this spirit. The introduction of easily available digital font-making tools may have came along too late for many of the Berthold library’s designers. Hofrichter’s work is noteworthy for reminding us that a significant entrance to the independent font retail market is not reserved for young designers in their 20s or 30s.

Dan Reynolds is a failed spirit, living in Berlin, but at least he finally has a dog. Occasionally, he designs typefaces (even one or two good ones), but he more often writes minor copy for typefoundries and font-retail websites. In 2015, he finally started working on the dissertation he planned in 2011; it is due in Spring 2018. Wish him luck! He really needs it.

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