Typeface Review


Reviewed by Mark Jamra on July 11, 2007

TDC2 winner Darka is a fine achievement — not only for its crisp tension and accomplished nuances, but also for its sheer inventiveness. Blackletter fonts have been revived periodically in past years, but Martinez Meave seems too enamored of the spirit of blackletter to create a mere copy of an historical design.

Instead, he has thrown the revivalists’ rules out the window and, operating from what is obviously a firm understanding of blackletter forms, has created a hybrid which combines elements of gothic cursives, frakturs (uppercase and ascenders) and French lettre bâtardes (lowercase) with a hint of the Spanish-influenced Rotundas thrown in for good measure. Purists may wrinkle their noses at it, but I find it an attractive and accomplished example of what someone can create from an understanding — and not mere appropriation — of historical forms. — Mark Jamra

Mark Jamra is a type designer and recently retired professor of graphic design at Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. He has designed and produced typefaces for over 35 years, and runs TypeCulture, a digital type foundry and educational resource. He is also a partner of JamraPatel, a type design studio specializing in typefaces for the writing systems of under-supported language communities in the US and abroad.


  1. […] first heard about him when I saw Darka. I’ve been dreaming of designing a book about heraldry using that font. I was in touch with […]

  2. […] darka by gabriel martinez meave […]

  3. Paul says:

    I’d like to get in touch with the author of the font. [email protected]

  4. Joel says:

    How can i get the darka Fonts thank you

  5. John says:

    I’ve repeatedly tried contacting him over the years with no responses whatsoever. His site is no longer there, but I assume he’s still working. I’ve contacted him in an attempt to buy Artefix to no avail. It’s like he appears to be in the market to sell his typefaces, but he’s not actually doing it.

  6. Darka is now available from Sudtipos. https://www.sudtipos.com/font/darka

  7. […] hand. This puts Mexica midway in Meave’s portfolio: neither as ebullient as his Arcana, Darka, and Lagarto (and others currently unavailable, such as Aztlan), nor as streamlined as Rondana or […]

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