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.

353 words by Kris Sowersby

Stylistically Darling is a wide, light, airy slab serif. It was drawn to set comfortably as text and confidently for headlines. It strikes a quiet balance between a plain skeleton and fanciful flourishes. The details are drawn largely from the Ionic genre, whereas the skeleton and structure tends towards geometric slab serifs.

Darling began its life as Homer — drawn specifically for captions in the first Klim Type Specimen. The captions needed to be small, discrete and linear. It was essentially a literal digital interpretation of Caractères Maigres from the 1926 Deberny & Peignot Spécimen Général. The generous capitals were perfect for the job — legible, on the warm side of neutral with the broad serifs amplifying the linearity.

Caractères Maigres, Deberny & Peignot Spécimen Général, (1926).

Homer lay dormant until 2011 when Moon Group requested it complete for their re-brand of The Darling Hotel in Sydney, Australia. It was a fairly straight-forward commission. The initial set of capitals were fleshed out with a matching lowercase, numerals and all the punctuation necessary for proper typesetting. Happily the original Caractéres Maigres specimen had ample detail for me to work from.

Certain details persist from Caractères Maigres. The flat apexes of M, the ball terminals and airy, wide stance. The subtle bracketing helps to soften the overall feel, alleviating the digital harshness that would otherwise ruin it.

The numerals, especially, are rather beautiful. I took the forms more or less as they are, adding ball-terminals where appropriate. I have a soft spot for numerals in general, particularly these ones. A direct nod to contemporary digital type is the eyeglass g, which I drew at the request of Moon to be “more American Typewriter.” They were spot-on, it works much better than the single-story g I initially had. My one regret is not including the elegant, broken tail of the Q. Perhaps for the retail release…

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