I admit I feature a tonne of reverse contrast typefaces here - but I do it because I LOVE them. The peculiarity of the shift in weight is visually stimulating, but moreover I admire the designers confidence to break free from convention, testing the potential of a character rather than relying on its archetypal norms.
Last November the team at Pamatype, announced a new family designed by founder Alejandro Lo Celso.
Inspired in the works of Atahualpa Yupanqui, an accomplished Argentinean folk music guitarist, Atahualpa is an original typeface that goes beyond reverse contrast, interpreting the qualities of a sturdy slab serif style with a delicate sense of drawing (and to my mind) a joyous cursive, packed with rhythm which seems to elegantly sway in a nod to its folk music origins.
Alejandro writes "For years I dreamed about designing a typeface in his name. I imagined a firm, rough voice, though interpreted with delicate curves and a feel of warmth.
After a few years of occasional sketching finally, a spirit aroused in 2014. The initially vague forms turned into precise letterforms and with time into a family of fonts. Now the type Atahualpa finally sees the light."
Yupanqui was a rebel spirit. Atahualpa is also an audacious design.
Atahualpa's characters were designed bearing in mind all the tenants of designing for text: Harmonious horizontal & vertical proportions, inner & outer spaces well interrelated, overall rhythm quality, color regularity of a text block; the letterforms are built so that the text provides an enjoyable reading experience.
It is a significant challenge to balance the delicacy required from a typeface used for continuous text with the inherent loudness of a rule-breaking reverse contrast display type.
But Alejandro was determined to make Atahualpa a high-quality versatile face that would work in multiple contexts. When you look at the characters individually or in large display settings, the personality shaines and you see how exciting, distinctive & original each letterform is.
Atahualpa's design, is a spirited and engaging reverse contrast slab serif available in 6 different weights from Blanca (thin) to SúperNegra (heavy), and it includes smallcaps, cursives, italic swashes, all styles of figures, and plenty more typographic goodies with open type features.
"At PampaType we believe in inclusion, so our current SuperLatin® charset covers over 200 languages within the Latin alphabet. We decided to drop the usual ‘Pro vs. Std’ binomial and set a new high standard for all of our new typefaces."