Regarding Letters in General.
The hypothesis that there is an ideally correct form for each letter
of the alphabet is just as erroneous as Geofroy Tory’s simple assumption that there is a relation between the shapes of letters and the human body, erroneous, because the shapes of letters have been in constant process of modification from their very beginnings.
Indeed, the shapes of the letters in daily use are due entirely to a convention, so that in preferring one form rather than another, our only consideration need be for the conventions now existing and the degree in which each satisfies our sense of beauty. It should be kept clearly in mind that the perfect model of a letter is altogether imaginary and arbitrary. There is a definite model for the human form. The painter, the sculptor, the architect have their models in nature. But the man who sets himself to make an alphabet has no copy but that left him by former artists on all matters which pertain to the fashion of his letter - he has no absolute standard. Semi’scientific discussions regarding the proportions of letters began as early as 1509, first by Pacioli, then by Durer 1525, Tory 1529, Yciar 1548, and Moxon 1676, down to the present, & all with little practical or valuable results. None of the drawings or writings of these masters contain any practical hints or suggestions for use in designing new forms of letters. Rules or substitutes for the artist’s hand must necessarily be inadequate, yet when set down by such men as Durer, Tory, Serlio and others, probably do establish and fix canons of proportion or construction that may constitute a firm basis upon which to found new expressions. Moxon said of letters that they were originally invented and contrived to be made and consist of circles, arches of circles, and straight lines, therefore those letters that have these figures entire, or else properly mixt, so as the progress of the pen may best admit, may deserve the name of true shape. But these self-same curves, arcs of circles, straight lines, make up also letterforms we do not always consider ’true shape, nor is it possible to entertain the opinion that all letters, although actually composed of these very elements, will necessarily submit to analysis or be reducible to set rules of formation that will make easier the creation of new forms. Such an analysis can, at best, only fix and permit the reproduction of the same form at another time, and even then the quality of life and freedom in the original will largely be lost in the reproduction. The mere blending together of geometrical elements common to all letterforms, good or bad, is not sufficient, ’true shape’ is something more subtle than geometry. Goudy.
Countach, the tough compact sans supercharged with brawn & brains.
Developed for The Crew, a critically acclaimed auto racing video game, Countach evokes the muscular and mechanical dynamics of fast cars and urban adventure. The typeface is used throughout the game, from the user interface to the visual identity, delivering a wide variety information at sizes large and small, while staying true to car culture. And what do automotive enthusiasts expect? Strong lines, sharp angles, an italic that conveys speed, and numbers that work equally well on a legible dashboard as they would for the eye-grabbing decals on the hood of a race car.
Countach is as much beauty as it is brawn, however. The six-style family has a refinement that extends its use far beyond its original purpose, and well-considered details prove that Countach is more evolved than type built on a rigid and modular grid. Note the tapering where bowls meet stems, the cropped ends of diagonal strokes that allow a tighter fit, and the unexpected shapes for ‘g’ and ‘y’. The glyph set is expansive, too, with an Extended Latin and Cyrillic character set, handy index numbers with white and black backgrounds, and alternate glyphs in Latin and Cyrillic.
Awards & distinctions
Typefacts Best of 2014
Design: Superscript2, Jean-Baptiste Levée. Team: Sandra Carrera, Irina Smirnova.