Magistra is a multiscript typeface for publications with complex typographic hierarchies. The project covers Latin, Arabic, and Greek, producing a harmonious system for the three scripts to interact together in complex typographic hierarchies, sizes, and weights. The design draws on the writing traditions of each script, intended for a wide variety of print publication needs. Designed as a variable font with weight and optical size axes, it has the flexibility to function at small sizes for long-form texts as well as at larger sizes for headlines and editorial formats.
Variable font playground
Q: How did designing multiple scripts at the same time within one project influence your workflow and/or design thinking?
A: Designing across three scripts with different modulations and writing directions presented a challenge to create an even texture and colour without transposing characteristics of one script onto another. Reflecting on traditional writing tools was crucial when trying to solve a weight or texture issue between writing systems. The script-specific workshops were particularly helpful in forming my approach to planning my typeface family with each script’s modulation in mind. I often found that a deeper understanding of certain writing methods for one script could better inform my treatment of the appropriate modulation of an entirely different script, particularly in the text styles.
Q: Were you inspired by any particular writing tool or typographic style?
My initial visual starting point was classical book typography, such as the work of early punchcutters like Granjon and Jenson, as well as 20th-century Dutch text typefaces. However, as the development of the typeface progressed, the traditional writing tools of each script became increasingly important to design decisions relating to modulation and texture. Ultimately, the design process became less centred on a particular historical model and rather the design constraints of dense texts, a warm tone for reading, and the harmonisation of text colour across scripts.
And that’s a wrap! It’s been a pleasure to share the MATD19/20 final projects with you. We would like to send a big thank you to everyone who made this possible: Gerry, Fiona, Fred, Victor, Ewan, Borna, Vaibhav, Cheng, Bianca, Laurence, Frank and all the other lecturers for their time and feedback. Shoutout to coop, Park House, the coffee machine and the farmer’s market.
Typeface: Ohno Type’s Degular.
Adriana Pérez Conesa