Typeface Review

Digestive

Reviewed by Jean-Baptiste Levée on October 18, 2018

“Something can be good, or it can be original; it can rarely be both.” That’s a saying I’ve heard attributed to Matthew Carter, without being able to pinpoint the source. In any event, Digestive distinctly qualifies as both. It joins a tiny club of original display faces that are unambiguous, singular, and well executed.

The aptly named Digestive deftly blends two formal inspirations deployed in a beautiful group of letters. On one hand, one discovers traces of the liquid, organic, and baroque touch of the architecture of Gaudí. On the other, one finds the vertical, spiky, austere proportions of Gothic blackletter. The result? A typeface full of circumvolutions that evokes both bodily fluids and Dark Ages. The drippingly sexual vibe is the cherry on top. But Digestive is good for much more than these first-degree projections, and I’ve already seen it used in a variety of ways.

With Digestive, designer Jérémy Landes further mines a vein that belongs to him alone; we are lucky to be the beneficiaries of his explorations. Not a huge fan of classic type that purports to be invisible, Landes produces work that is consistently strange, and he does it well. This design represents a pivotal moment in his distorted explorations — I haven’t yet decided if I want him to continue or transcend it.

Digestive is still a work in progress. You can support both the designer and the development of the typeface by licensing it on Future Fonts. It’s ripe for the most adventurous uses.

Jean-Baptiste Levée is a typeface designer who runs the foundry Production Type in London and in Paris. He has designed over a hundred typefaces for industry, moving pictures, fashion, and publishing. He is a vice-president at ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale). He also curates exhibitions on typeface design, organizes research symposiums, and teaches typeface design at the Amiens school of Arts & Design. He is a typography columnist and editor at Pointypo.com.

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