San Francisco, California

Seraph

Seraph is equal parts stately and weird—it’s a new type family from Bernd Volmer and the specimen site happens to be simply outstanding. This is mostly thanks to the wide range of styles available; from slab, sans, wedge, tuskan, and calligraphic. But Seraph also happens to be a great showcase for what’s possible with variable fonts, too. The website shows that you can have an almost-slab-tuskan-sans or an extremely-wedge-calligraphic-tuskan.

Welcome to 2020, the year of weird web type!

Volmer designed the website as well as the font family itself, and this rather joyous thing shows off just a little of what’s possible by animating between all the variations of the family. And for some reason this all makes me want to flee to a cabin in the woods and write a horror novel: these big twisted variations could be used to make a monster of a webpage.

See what I mean? Animating letters like this on the web was possible before variable fonts but it was sort of a nightmare and required a ton of work.

Also, I wonder if variable fonts will start to become so popular that they change the way we see digital fonts and the act of typography itself. I can imagine the difference between bold and italic, regular and condensed—but that’s because I was brought up buying specific font files for those variants. Now that we have variable fonts, we’re starting to smudge the lines between these categories and I wonder what effect that will have on how we all think about typesetting.

Does that make sense? I’m not so sure I’ve had enough coffee to be blogging about fonts just yet.