Robin Rendle

Rekindling the Ampersand

Friends!

The illustrious type foundry run by Rui Abreu known as R-Typography released a new typeface this week that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. It’s an editorial typeface in three weights with squarish terminals and swooping, connecting parts where you can almost hear a broad nib pen drawing these charming characters in a dark room under flickering candlelight.

It’s a typeface for bold and exciting headlines, or for striking quotations. It’s a typeface for when you need the most amount of bang for your buck and for when you need to grab everyone’s attention in the room quickly and yet somewhat elegantly, without sounding as if you’re screaming at them all.

It’s a typeface called Flecha and I would classify it in the genre of “oh boy, oh wow, yikes!” typefaces that join a few of its peers in a giant spreadsheet of mine for families I must use immediately when the right project turns up.

Behold!

Make sure to take note of the numbers, particularly the 5 here, where it seems as if the extreme contrast (the difference between thick and thin strokes in the letter) has been pushed to the absolute limit in the lighter weights. The type designer is clearly trying to stretch what’s possible when it comes to legibility, even at these large sizes.

I can see this typeface being used effectively in logotypes and branding work, too. One example in the specimen that gives me this impression is the Q & A example Rui displays prominently:

I know it’s no longer 2008 and so it seems particularly gauche to talk about ampersands today – but! – if there is a single typeface that can rekindle the fashion for ampersands being used all over the place again then it’s this typeface alone that could do it.

You can also tell that Abreu had far too much fun drafting the ampersand above — it’s a letter of dancing, musical, swirling design — and it shows all the hallmarks of a type designer staying up until 2am and giggling with excitement. Because they’ve finally done it; above and beyond anyone else, they’ve managed to impress themselves. At last.



✌️ Robin