Rocky knocked me out.
When I first saw it used as a featured face for headlines over at Typophile, I was stunned that there was just nothing wrong with it. Another Typophile user wrote: “It has that perfect, classy but neutral touch, with personality at the same time.” Kent Lew pointed out that this phrase captures “the essence of Matthew Carter’s mastery.” But I confess — heresy — that I find some of Carter’s faces just a trifle stiff in their perfection. Not Rocky. It has a touch of assertiveness and drama that is entirely appropriate to a headline face. And it is beautiful to boot. I know it’s called Rocky, but it’s really the Cary Grant of typefaces: handsome, disarmingly graceful, never rude, yet dramatic, fascinating to the eye.
A detail I particularly admire is the way Carter has handled the slightly blunted “spikes” on the terminals of the c a r s f j. Every one of them is different, and their variety of weight and design results in both beautifully even color in the text and a lively dance of shapes across the page.
William Berkson is a philosopher and type designer. His new revival of Caslon will be out soon, and with luck also his book “Avot: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life”.