I imagine it must have taken a lot of nerve to marry this degree of exuberance with the complex considerations inherent in a text design. My own naive prejudice meant that Marat’s strong personality left me skeptical when I first saw it.
But the more I used it, the more I realized that I didn’t have to worry: its lovely and eye-catching details only emerge at larger sizes. Its upbeat, engaging and accessible sensibility quiets down enough to let the design be even, legible, and very pleasant to read when set at text sizes. This ability to present highly effectively at both small and large sizes is something I have noticed in many of my favorite type designs.
Marat doesn’t end with a solid roman however. Quite wisely, Übele designed Marat’s bold, italic, and small caps to contrast strongly with the roman. This choice expands Marat’s usefulness to information design, advertising, magazines, cookbooks etc.
But, to me, the reason Marat deserves special attention is not this set of virtues, or even its distinctive voice. Instead it is the thoroughness with which each of its weights, styles, numbers, and even minor glyphs have been crafted to work with each other. This depth of consideration gives Marat a sense of solid reliability which is perhaps the most desirable feature a typeface can have.
Eben Sorkin is a student at the Reading MATD program. He recently presented at TypeCon Buffalo and ATypI St. Petersburg on the subject of Contextual Alternatives for Text designs. Eben is the photographer for TypeCon.