David Jonathan Ross has a knack for creating letterforms that are both unconventional and beautiful! From reversed stress slab serifs of the nineteenth century to computer terminals of the twentieth, he ransacks forgotten and pigeonholed lettering styles and searches for new approaches to the same old alphabet. He delights in finding ways to turn a “rule” of letter drawing on its head or to write a program that helps accomplish a difficult task.
Until recently DJR's fonts were available to licence via myfonts and Font Bureau. But this week I was excited to discover David has launched his own type foundry to distribute his faces via djr.com
My all time favourtie of David's faces is manicotti as shown in the thumbnail above. Manicotti is a delightful reverse contrast that grabs attention with dramatic and boisterous weight distribution. Manicotti pushes the reversed-stress French Clarendon style to its decorative extreme. Its thick tops and bottoms and massive slab serifs overtake the short vertical stems, creating an oddly dense typographic texture. Originally drawn as an all-caps poster face, Manicotti was honored by the Type Directors Club in 2007. Ross revisited the design a couple of years later, adding lowercase, extended language support, alternates and ornaments. The result is a contemporary take on a rambunctious style.
This week DJR released a new face Gimlet (shown below) 'a quirkhorse' rather than work horse! "Gimlet draws its inspiration from Georg Trump’s 1938 typeface, Schadow. At the behest of Nick Sherman, I reimagined the oddball serif as an energetic contemporary workhorse, complete with three optical sizes and a flexible set of widths tailored for responsive layouts. A multifaceted series that speaks with a singular voice, Gimlet is a rare find: a typeface that is as funky as it is functional."
David admits "Gimlet is infused with more individuality than you might find in your typical workhorse. But I have gone out of my way to make sure that Gimlet’s charm doesn’t detract from its usefulness as an all-purpose serif."
It is a playful and fun typeface that demonstrates the same bravery and risk taking with typographic form that is evident in manicotti. I am super excited about this new face and also to see what is next for DJR!