It is easy to understand how a few shapes created for a banknote can inspire a whole typeface; the bold big characters need to stand out in a complex composition of ornaments, fine-tuned illustrations, and geometric patterns. I am curious to see the 1918 Chinese banknote that inspired Nickel.
The long triangular serifs make me think of those Latin typefaces that appeared in the second half of the nineteenth century, rather than a Glyphic style. This kind of flared serif has seen a renaissance in the last decade. The sharp terminals are an obvious choice for display typefaces. Recently, however, they can also be found in text typefaces of various genres. In Nickel, we see a typeface for bold designs and big sizes. One of the challenges that surfaces with this idea is how to fit elegant serifs in a chunky structure, how to maintain the tight metrics and not create a Frankenstein. This well executed mix is one of the strengths of the typeface. The heavy, squarish skeleton of the glyphs, combined with sharp stylish terminals, makes for an exciting design.
Nickel was also the inaugural typeface from the Font of the Month Club, a font distribution channel that launched in 2017. Looking at the other typefaces in the Club, together with other retail fonts from DJR, I see someone who uses patterns and countershapes in a very smart way. Most of his typefaces show the skills of a designer who masters negative forms in a positive way.