The eighties are everywhere. Love them or hate them, over the past several years it has been almost impossible to escape the resurgence of bright neon colors, flashy animal prints, neoliberal ideas, and catchy synth chords. For graphic designer Ivana Palečková and type designer Jitka Janečková, thinking about this decade brings back a very special piece of typographic nostalgia.
Plastic is inspired by a typical item of everyday life in former Czechoslovakia: céčka. These colorful, c-shaped pieces of plastic were originally designed to be joined together and hung as decorative elements in windows and doors. They quickly took on a life of their own and turned into collector’s items. In true eighties fashion, there is even a powerful synth pop ode to them.
Despite its strong connection with the past, Plastic is a prime example of type design today. Rather than playing a supporting role and focusing on monospaced type’s roots in technical limitations, it exhibits flamboyance and self-confidence. As a fixed-pitch typeface made for display sizes, it fits right in with recent releases like BC Mikser, Knif Mono, and Nostra, among others.
Plastic spans five weights and offers two distinct flavors: Simple and Chain. For the even spread of céčka-style connection spaces, the counters in g, o, and 4 get the stencil treatment, while I, x, and T grow their serifs to the max. And the “chain reaction” doesn’t stop there. It even adds serifs in unexpected places, like in the top left part of the 1. If that’s too much serif for your liking, you can always dial it back on the “chain” axis offered in the variable font version. But really, toning down shouldn’t be the objective when using Plastic anyway. Pump up the volume.