Tangly font specimen

Typeface Review


Reviewed by Marina Chaccur on December 16, 2019

Zuzana Licko is definitely one of my biggest inspirations. A woman in the type design field, behind a company that made history and continues to surprise and impress.

I was always particularly drawn to her typefaces for patterns. Whirligig (1994) and Hypnopaedia (1997) were fun and worked as illustrations on their own besides the more intricate compositions. Then Puzzler (2005) came along with mostly simplified shapes and base elements that can be used to create fantastic optical illusions. Years later, a new release takes a step further: Tangly (2018). The new typeface not only multiplies the amount of pattern parts in relation to its predecessors, but it also narrows the focus to line drawing. Do not, however, underestimate its potential.

Tangly’s characters are composed by lines with subtle differences in thickness as they move through their square units. By superimposing the line drawings, more complex shapes are created. Tangly Splines adds filled shapes by removing points in strategic intersections and calculating new curves to fill the gaps, thus increasing the contrast between the shapes and their background. Connecting points are consistently placed on the four sides of each unit, so they can be all combined with each other, allowing almost endless possibilities of patterns. It is simply dazzling!

The lines also materialised into textile prints and woven jacquards, as tests for the patterns, but also as products produced by Zuzana. I’d say I’m curious to see what she does next, but Crackly (2019) is already out, exploring more angular shapes and surfaces based on her ceramic sculptures.

Currently based in The Hague, Marina Chaccur holds an MA in Graphic Design from the London College of Communication (LCC), and an MA in Type and Media from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (KABK). She works for Type Network, teaches at KABK, and runs her studio, Marina Chaccur Designs.

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