78,386 words
about letters.

Arts Laureate interview

An interview between Josephine Granese & Kris Sowersby for the 2019 Arts Laureate.

Söhne design information

Söhne is the memory of Akzidenz-Grotesk framed through the reality of Helvetica. It captures the analogue materiality of “Standard Medium” used in Unimark’s wayfinding system for the NYC Subway.

New details about the origins of Akzidenz-Grotesk

Nobody knows who designed Akzidenz-Grotesk. For about 20 years it was attributed to Theinhardt, but this has recently been proven untrue.

Awards

All the awards & accolades garnered by Klim. Includes local honours and international recognition in various design and typography competitions.

The Design Conference lecture

“Kris Sowersby’s talk is dry, educated and incredibly clever. Expand your knowledge on type and tune in for the next 40 minutes.”

Ockham Lecture Series

There is no such thing as a New Zealand Typeface asks questions about the relationship between typography and place, text and landscape, and ultimately identity.

Changes to App Font licensing & pricing

A detailed summary of key changes to our App Font licensing and pricing, and related updates to our other licences.

What is new

Producing a new typeface is almost trivial — it can be done in a day. But making it feel new in the wider sense, making it feel culturally relevant is the hard part.

Maelstrom design information

Maelstrom & Maelstrom Sans are reversed-stress typefaces. They’re “perverse”, to be sure, but that’s exactly their charm. They belong to a genre destined to be a perpetual typographic outsider — never fashionable yet never abandoned.

Heldane design information

Heldane is a contemporary serif family inspired by a range of masterful renaissance typefaces. Rather than emulating a specific font, Heldane amalgamates the best details into a cohesive whole.

10,000 original copies

European concepts of originality and authorship form our current understanding of typeface design. Typographic history is written as a discrete sequence of “originals” created by “authors”. But can copies be equally as important?

There is no such thing as a New Zealand typeface

The British have Gill Sans, the French, Garamond, the Italians, Bodoni, the Swiss, Helvetica. Is there a relationship between a typeface and place? Can a typeface have a regional accent?

Geograph design information

Geograph is a contemporary, geometric sans serif originally designed for National Geographic. We drew upon idealism of Futura and the pragmatism of Super Grotesk.

A typeface is not a tool

The assertion “a typeface is a tool” is a typical justification for making new typefaces. It’s convenient, reassuring and sounds practical. It’s also false.

The Design Conference interview

“I am not entirely convinced that a typeface can embody an idea. Sometimes I think it’s pure form, other times not. All I know is that anything made today will always be of this time.”

Plainness and sweetness

My grandfather used to say occassionally while I was growing up, “Not everyone gets to be special, but everyone can be useful.”

Heavy metal typography

A typographic analysis of the logotypes of Motörhead, Megadeth, Misfits, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin and Poison for Smith Journal.

Azimuts 43 interview

In this issue of Azimuts we question the notion of the end in design projects — what determines and happens at the final step that often concludes a long investment.

Typographics Untitled lecture

A lecture exploring the ideas and implications of “normality” in typeface design. Can non-design work as a viable design strategy?

National 2 design information

The inspiration, history and development of the National 2 typeface family. A total of 64 fonts over 4 widths, National 2 is a comprehensive expansion of National’s original aesthetic concept.

Primitive typographic communications from afar

An interview with Elizabeth Carey Smith covering the studio, the Untitled concept, restlessness, design processes and Klim’s “Master Plan”.

The reseller discount demand scenario

When a stranger demands a discount on their customer’s behalf, what can you do? A small thought experiment for makers and sellers of digital files.

Minimalism in design: it’s harder to take away than add

So much of life today is about adding more. How can design help strip away the noise? We talk about how Klim Reader and the Untitled Collection step towards a less crowded web.

Story Sans design information

Story Sans is a screen-first sans serif designed for Trade Me. Based on Akzidenz-Grotesk it’s unpretentious and hardworking, aligned the brand’s values and tone of voice.

Untitled Collection design information

The Untitled Collection is quotidian. Validated by Morrison and Fukasawa’s Super Normal project, they have a deliberate aesthetic of not being designed.

Klim EULA changes

A detailed summary of our November 2016 EULA changes.

Workspiration interview

We discuss self taught approaches, what makes typeface design so significant nowadays and why clients want custom typefaces.

Financier design information

Financier is an elegant, authoritative serif with an undeniable British heritage. Drawn for the redesign of the Financial Times, Financier is inspired by Eric Gill’s classic letterforms.

Tilting at windmills

Rudy VanderLans’s reply to our “Welcome to the Infill Font Foundry” article.

Welcome to the infill font foundry

A response to Rudy VanderLans’s claim of “In-fillism” in the typeface design industry.

Why we need new typefaces

The alphabet is a concept made concrete through countless written and designed letterforms; the alphabet is not defined by a single typeface but expressed through all of them.

Playing favourites with Kim Hill

Kim is a stalwart interviewer with broad knowledge on many subjects. We discuss my recent Black Pin award, the Financial Times redesign, the NZ flag debacle and bogans.

PayPal Sans design information

PayPal Sans is a mobile-first typeface designed for PayPal Inc. It’s aligned with humanist design principles, numeral-centric, and performs excellently across all screen resolutions.

Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial: Beauty

On occasion of the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial, we discuss approaching typeface design, style, historical inspiration, geographic location and beauty.

Pure Pākati design information

Pure Pākati was designed exclusively for Tourism New Zealand. Hand-carved from kauri, the niho pattern speaks to a kaupapa of “embracing visitors as whānau”.

Towards an ideal OpenType user interface

All digital typography is mediated by user interfaces. OpenType fonts have subtle, complex behaviour that needs clear actions. Currently it’s mediocre — can do better?

Domaine Sans design information

Domaine was an exploration into the unpopular Latin typeface genre; Domaine Sans delves into another unpopular genre: sans serifs with contrast.

Domaine design information

Domaine is a sharp, elegant serif that blends traditional French and British genres into a contemporary aesthetic. Curvaceous Latin detailing complements its distinctive hooked terminals.

What is your inspiration?

There is no scene to set for inspiration. The more harder I look the more elusive inspiration is. So I don’t look. “Out of the work comes the work.”

Founders Grotesk design information

Founders Grotesk is not a strict revival. Instead it resolves the best details from last centuries grotesks into a large family designed for modern typography.

Playing favourites, part three.

“What’s your favourite font?” is an impossible question. I like too many to answer with brevity. So here are some I like, accompanied by specimens and short explanations.

Playing favourites, part two.

“What’s your favourite font?” is an impossible question. I like too many to answer with brevity. So here are some I like, accompanied by specimens and short explanations.

Playing favourites, part one.

“What’s your favourite font?” is an impossible question. I like too many to answer with brevity. So here are some I like, accompanied by specimens and short explanations.

Silo6 Purple Pin exhibition

Sentimental Journey at the Silo6 Exhibition in Auckland, New Zealand.

Bula design information

Bula was designed for Fiji Airways. It is inspired by Makereta Matemosi’s traditional Masi crafted for the airline, an ancient art form that embodies Fiji’s traditions and spirit.

The Air New Zealand logotype

The design process to create “a wordmark that reflects an innovative, modern company but projects our history, credibility and with a timeless elegance”.

Pitch design information

Pitch is a love letter to the typewriter. It’s a synthesis of digital and analogue that evokes — not emulates — typewritten text.

Darling design information

Darling was designed for The Darling Hotel. Inspired by a 1920’s French typeface, the design process gently updated Darling via the 1974 classic ITC American Typewriter.

Tiempos Collection design information

The Tiempos Collection is a hardworking, modern serif family for editorial typography. Tiempos updates the functionality of Plantin and Times for contemporary use.

Metric & Calibre design information

Metric & Calibre are a pair of typefaces that share a fundamental geometry but differ in the finish of key letterforms. They were conceived as a pair but function independently.

Eye Magazine interview

We discuss education, heroes, the aesthetics of letterpress, source material and revisiting history.

Process Journal interview

We discuss the roots of Tiempos, optical sizing, working from New Zealand, fundamentals and feelings.

Computer Arts interview

With three Type Directors Club awards in the last two years, Kris Sowersby is the man agencies turn to for a custom typeface. Garrick Webster goes behind the scenes.

God is in the details

The craft of leading font designer Kris Sowersby often — surprisingly — provokes intense reaction and debate. Rose Hoare looks at the letters behind his name and discovers why all the hype in the type.

I Love Typography interview

“Many of you will have heard of Kris Sowersby, and something tells me that we’re going to be hearing a lot more about him.”