Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Jennie Sans

You may know the feeling: cycling through a list of fonts in your preferred design program, trying to find the perfect one. Eventually, your eyes cross and words lose all meaning. Many designers solve this by sticking to a handful of dependable typefaces. I've certainly been moving in that direction, favoring the classic transitional serif Baskerville, which I find is both elegant and versatile. Helvetica is popular for a reason, and I count myself among its admirers. Still, certain projects require a deviation from the stand-bys. Developing the identity for Terrier Mountain is one such instance.

I knew I wanted to strike a casual, handmade feeling with the type, but I am often let down by handwriting fonts. I played with a slab serif for a while (the ubiquitous Archer, known as the Martha Stewart Living font, is a slab serif), which was nice. But I wanted something different. One day, I asked Jennie, whose handwriting I've always envied, to draw some letterforms for me. The result is a work-in-progress typeface I'm calling, fittingly enough, "Jennie Sans."

The Jennie Sans

I like where it's heading, and though there's refining to be done, I'm going to live with it for a while, try it in various layouts, and see how it all comes together. I want to maintain some of the quirky forms, so it's never going to be perfectly polished. I'm always up for constructive criticism, here or at Flickr, where I post works-in-progress.

One of my greatest pleasures in going back to school has been the opportunity to dive head-first into the history of typography and develop a deeper appreciation for the myriad styles that have evolved over the last half-millennium. It's fun to discern subtle variations in typefaces and see how they play out in practice. And it's always exciting to find a type that clicks into a design to make it come alive and more strongly communicate its message. I think Jennie Sans does the trick here!

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