Being on the lookout for interesting new typefaces is often like panning for gold in a stream. You head out into the world and sift through a ton of dirt yet after weeks of panning all you find are clumps of soil and the odd fish. One day weeks later though, as you’re on your last leg and want to quit the prospect altogether the stream turns in your favor; rocks of diamond gold rush through the water and suddenly you have so much gold that you have no idea what do all with all of it. The river is pure gold at this point and there’s too much to sift and organize, too much to haul back to town. You realize that you can never possibly inspect all of it and so you sit at the edge of the riverbank cursing your gold.
This is how I felt when I saw that Ayer, a new collection of type families by Commercial Type, was released into the wild a couple of weeks ago. First up, there is Ayer Deck:
If every book cover in the world is not printed with Ayer Deck Semibold then it will be a tragedy for the ages, and one that the publishing industry will never be forgiven for. But whilst the upright forms have this lovely graceful and slightly more rounded Lydia-look, the italics have this dancing silliness to them:
But then there is the giant and all consuming letterforms of Ayer Poster Black, which loom over the other forms like a mythical Smaug-esque monster that guards a castle keep’s treasure. The letters are a lot more condensed, squidged together to let only a sliver of light in between the characters. The cross bar of the lowercase T! The slanted joint in the center of the lowercase E! And that lowercase A that looks like a thick pen confidently (although a little bit angrily) carved the letter into its surface:
This leads us to Poster’s cursive italics that join its brothers but it appears to be drawn with a gloved hand under the light of a candle and with a much more fragile pen:
Impossibly lovely! There is so much I want to say about each and every character – I haven’t even covered punctuation, numbers, or diacritics. I could spend a week talking about the Blackletter variant of Ayer Poster or these dangerously lovely capital letters: