Budapest-based designer Laura Csocsan has developed a new typeface called Zorn. Its design was borne out of experimentation with a new pen. Not meaning to design anything in particular, she began by drawing experimental forms with an elegantly thin nib, a nib that she soon realised would suit a typeface befittingly. She tells It’s Nice That, “I analysed what I found interesting about the shapes and continued drawing with the concrete purpose.”
In comparison to Laura’s usual methods, Zorn was the result of switching back and forth between paper and the computer. By moving between the digital and hand drawn, Laura is able to assess different design decisions through the two contrasting ways of working. While wishing to maintain the immediacy of the hand drawn, Laura could then tweak minute imperfections caused by human error to ensure a uniformly elegant typeface.
What’s more, Zorn is a lower case alphabet which aims to “create as much tension inside one letter as possible.” With the careful design of the letters and numbers of Zorn, Laura manages to maintain the feeling of her initial hand drawn sketches. Its overall aesthetic encapsulates the “sudden — somewhat harsh — movement,” that can only be achieved by hand and not through a screen.
Though Zorn possesses that pseudo-alien-aesthetic that a lot contemporary typefaces have these days, its rounded look is more down to the combined tension between the digital and manual process. The two methods stimulated “a lot of questions that were quite hard to decipher,” says Laura. “But all-in-all, I tried to take the path that led to the most unified look, with also, the most interesting shapes.” With long extended strokes and undulating curves that bulge out satisfyingly, Zorn makes statements with its quirky yet legible letterforms.
The essence of the new typeface is a result of Laura’s hand drawn type tests with that specific pen that can “catch the nature of quick and sudden movements.” Zorn’s sleek energy is strikingly present at a display size. “I don’t think it can be used at a reading size as it looks more like alien signs,” she explains.
However, used appropriately, Zorn can “create or strengthen a certain atmosphere”. Its hints of Celtic sensibilities along with the movement between each letterform’s thicks and thins makes Zorn a rather beautiful and delicate alphabet for displays.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.