Typeface Review

Zangezi Sans

Reviewed by Ellen Lupton on December 31, 2020

Although Daria Petrova’s Zangezi Sans first appeared on the Future Fonts platform in 2018, most of its developmental releases happened in 2019. I appreciate the energy and idiosyncrasy of these letters, which I have been using for display text in presentations and screen-based designs during the dark months of 2020. An off-kilter typeface feels right for these twisted times.

Zangezi Sans is the serif-free sister of Zangezi, a weird and perky typeface with wedge serifs and diagonal stress. Zangezi Sans doesn’t come across as just another naked sans or neutralized friend of a serif family. Varied stroke weight, fluid counters, and spiky tails give Zangezi Sans a nonbinary vibe. This typeface bridges the serif/sans divide with shapes that borrow from calligraphy, stone carving, and snakes in the grass. Zangezi is named after a poem by the Russian Futurist Velimir Khlebnikov; perhaps the typeface’s alluring K is an homage to him as well.

Petrova is offering free Zangezi licenses to folks who are committed to using it on a gravestone. So, go there. If not now, when?

Ellen Lupton is a writer, graphic designer, and curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Her book Thinking with Type is a basic guide to typography directed at everyone who works with words.

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