Typeface Review


Reviewed by Tânia Raposo and Frank Grießhammer on January 25, 2012

Doko’s name was generated automatically. Designer Ondrej Jób was only sure of how the name should sound, and — based on a small number of variables — he wrote a Python script that finally created the name he was looking for.

This is not the only thing that makes Doko unique. Doko’s features are drawn from various fields of inspiration, including comics and cartoons, illustration, and hand-lettering. The letter proportions (big head on a small body) are a direct reference to cartoon characters. In the italic styles, especially in the decorative swash caps, the nod to brush lettering is clearly visible.

As this project was started in the Type & Media master program at KABK in The Hague, Jób created extensive documentation where he states the goal of designing a serif typeface, but also plans to “have some fun” along the way. He clearly succeeded. Doko is, indeed, a serif typeface, and every letter is witness of the fun Ondrej must have had drawing it – the vigor they carry in their curves is quite evident.

Doko is a fresh take on the classic four-style type family model – pairing a Book and a Bold weight with their matching italics. Being a deliberate decision, this reduction is nice. For constructing a basic typographic hierarchy, Doko will go a long way.

Doko comes with a host of typographic niceties, such as the mentioned titling capitals, different figure styles, and a load of ligatures. Additionally, many alternate characters exist, emphasizing the playful nature of the family. By design, Doko is suited for many applications. One such fertile field is editorial design, where short paragraphs of text are combined with big headlines that can show off its illustrative features. Doko is also an excellent choice for packaging, especially if the appetizing swash caps are used. (Who wouldn’t love Doko Cereal, Chocolate, or Cream?)

Tânia Raposo is a type and graphic designer from Portugal. She received her Graphic Design BFA at ESAD.IPL, Portugal and her Type and Media Master’s degree at KABK, Netherlands. She has worked as a graphic designer for the studios Itemzero in Lisbon and Atlas in Palma de Mallorca and as a curatorial assistant at the Letterform Archive, and is focusing on freelance jobs in both type and graphic design today. After moving around Europe and the US she has now settled in the Bay Area. She buys too many books, collects stamps that look good and wishes one day Nick Sherman will take her to a Monster Truck Show. This wish has been fulfilled!

Frank Grießhammer studied Communication Design at HBKsaar in Saarbrücken, Germany and at ISIA Firenze, Italy. He received a master’s degree in typeface design from Type & Media at KABK Den Haag in 2010. After working for FontShop International in Berlin, he joined the Adobe Type Team in 2011.


  1. …am a bit confused as to how the name was created. ‘Doko’ is the Japanese word for ‘where’.
    Can you simply explain how a Python script entered into the search for a name?

  2. a r bo says:

    Different, and thereby refreshing. Doko has genuine character without excesses and avoiding looking pretentious.

  3. Amit says:

    Loved the “Greenwich” typo! Just Fantastic!

  4. JLT says:

    This is terrific — but it would be infinitely more useful with small caps! I have to say I was really surprised that they weren’t included.

  5. Frank Grießhammer says:

    Hoping this reply is still useful four years after the original comment:
    As far as I remember, Ondrej used the script to generate a four-letter name with two vowels. From a list of possibilities he just picked what he thought sounded best – the Japanese meaning being pure coincidence. At least it does not translate to something bad! :)

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