Squeak and Roger
The aim of this project was to design a type system consisting of two distinct families that communicate together fluently, with individual yet complementing voices. However, the goal is not to design a super-family based on the same skeleton, but two typefaces that are equally mindful of the individual characteristics of the different scripts (Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Arabic). The project takes inspiration from well-known typeface pairings from web and print environments, like Helvetica and Times or Georgia and Verdana, and is developed within the context of present-day high-resolution screens.
Roger is a text family that eludes the categorisation of serif or sans. It is taking characteristics from both models to achieve optimal reading. The letter shapes have been developed with consideration for all scripts supported: Latin, Cyrillic, Greek and Arabic. Roger Italic (currently only developed for Latin and Cyrillic) provides adequate differentiation, though the pace and proportions are not drastically different from the upright. This allows for effortless reading of longer passages of italicised text. Roger performs especially well when used for the mid-length texts, usually read on web platforms.
Squeak is a sans serif typeface, tailored for captions, side notes, and short paragraphs that sets aptly in small sizes. Squeak Italic follows the same direction, and challenges the prejudice of a secondary sans serif style underperforming in small sizes. With a distinct personality, the italic shows the fun side of the family yet, keeps the features of the upright. Squeak is native in Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, and Arabic for upright styles and Latin for italics.
The weight range spans from light to heavy, which allows for typographic richness, both for paragraph setting and attention-grabbing titles. Both type families are variable across the weight axis and also cover five static weights with italics.
Q: How did designing multiple scripts at the same within one project influence your workflow and/or design thinking?
A: At the initial stage it was a challenge as I had started designing all scripts simultaneously. At some point I did notice that they had influenced each other e.g., my Greek had a big influence on my Latin especially in the treatment of the stems. The Cyrillic followed the principles of the Latin to the point that, when I could test both scripts in the paragraph and see the actual texture of text, I decided to continue developing the Cyrillic in its own way so as to follow its own characteristics of spacing, rhythm and pace. Arabic was the tricky one. I could match the proportions however, shaping the characters had to follow the philosophy behind the type family rather than borrowing elements from other scripts.
Q: What is something you did (or you wish you had done/known) in preparation for the course that ended up being helpful during the development of the typeface?
A: If I could prepare myself better for the program I would definitely try to design some Arabic by myself before, in order to familiarise myself with the script, understand some basic logic behind it and gain some confidence in the next projects.
Q: Aside from producing new typefaces, what are some other ways in which you hope to contribute to type design and the wider design community?
A: Actually I believe in design as a tool for identity, not in the branding sense, rather in the cultural and geographical sense, a tool that could bring communities together and celebrate local culture and unique voices, similarly to local food, craft or music. Maybe it is a big statement but I would like to be able to contribute something to the variety of these voices.
Q: Were you inspired by any particular writing tool or typographic style?
A: Not really. In my case, rather than following a specific writing tool or a historical model, my typeface takes inspiration from different places in order to fulfil its purpose.
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