Typeface Review


Reviewed by Robb Ogle on March 13, 2013

Embrace designs that give a tacit nod to history without making contemporary words look like they’re wearing a cravat. Shift’s appeal, beyond utility, is a quirk of prescient timing and 2012 fashion.

We (re)prioritized lasting materials and so swiped older generations’ fabrics and waistcoats. Let us face the fact that fashion-conscious men overindulged playing tweedy dress-up this year. Likewise, certain type revivals arguably become overwhelming costumes. Young Shift’s antique form can switch playing Country Lord or Lumberjack. Prim, sharp Extralight or heaving Black weights offer that period breadth. Contextual alternates add spit polish. But the family seems a new inventive composite of choice Barnhart Bros. & Spindler aesthetics, duly name checked by Mickel. It is minted for fresh use, detoxed of olde-timey contrast ghosts and too-gooey bracketing.

As in fashion, so in type, I support technicians who develop bolts of sturdy wool blended with lab-techy waterproofing and reflective properties for designers cutting contemporary silhouettes. I position Shift with bracing interpretations like Whitman and Scala — each clarified the erratic pen of earlier, quite loaded, styles for their own time.

Context: I have not licensed nor used Shift yet; the above is based on reviewing MCKL and Village specimens. I am too often predisposed to the gruff flavors of turn-of-the-century Americana and Bookman.

Robb Ogle is Art Director of ARCHITECT Magazine. He revived his Creative Commons lettering hobby The “The” Project as a cheap charitable font.

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  1. […] could accompany Will Bradley’s distinctly turn-of-the-century feel. But Jeremy Mickel’s Shift (a Typographica favorite) felt just right. Not only is inspired by type of the same era, but Shift shares the warmth, […]

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