Proto Grotesk

Typeface Review

Proto Grotesk

Reviewed by André Mora on March 19, 2015

“If you want be a party animal, you have to learn to live in the jungle.” — Weird Science

Jean-Baptiste Levée has a wry smile that stretches from France to the West Coast of the USA. I know this because I live in the shadow of his cheekbone. Every time he takes a bite out of an idea, I hang on while he chews it up.

Does this sound like fan mail? Good. Because this isn’t a fair and balanced dissertation. No, this is about raw emotion. And Proto Grotesk was my favorite typeface released last year.

This beast is a strong sans serif with two mean weights. While others were busy breeding show dogs, Proto emerged from the love den of a couple of mutts high as hell. It ain’t tame. It’ll never be domesticated.

Looking around, I see a lot of safe sans serifs getting slapped on top of photos, in the name of headline typography. Are faces like Proto Grotesk too scary? Too real? You know what, don’t answer; keep hiding in the bushes.

I live for the fonts that want to get down. Those with chipped teeth. Those that eat lemons whole. Yo, Proto — text me. I’m free at midnight.

André Mora is a typographer and has designed a bunch of magazines, taught publishing design, and worked for Font Bureau and Process.

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