San Francisco, California

Etna

I spotted Etna the other day and it’s pretty remarkable. It’s a new typefamily by Mark Simonson, inspired by wood type in the 19th century, and the micro-site is so much fun even if you absolutely hate fonts and your nemesis is a .woff file. Ahem, anyway—this litte site lets you click-clack different chunks of text together in a big carousel and I think it’s rather handsome.

Make sure to check out the design notes about the history of Etna and where all these striking shapes come from, too. And on this note, I love it when type designers do this—when they show history of their work—because their big beautiful typefaces exist on this continuum of other big beautiful typefaces that stretch back for hundreds of years. Remixes upon remixes, as Mark explains:

I don’t remember exactly when I first noticed it, but I’ve always liked the the style of engraved lettering used on U.S. currency. At first glance, it looks like a 19th century “fat face”. But it has some distinctive characteristics, such as the really deep brackets on the serifs and the triangular serifs on the arms of the E, F, L, and T...

I wish other folks did this; video game designers, novelists, musicians, artists. Yes! Here is the grand thing I made..., their websites ought to say, ...but this is just one small contribution to the vast timeline of great works that have inspired me. Now pick up your pen, pull up your keyboard, and join me.

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