The type design company Swiss Typefaces has published a second, updated version of its sell-out publication Type Life. Originally published in the summer of 2017, the newly updated re-run revamps the original first issue which focussed on the theme of “Lab”. The second edition boasts four new pages, new colourways and several more original typefaces by the foundry.
Though the publication is filled with a vast amount of type design, Type Life is not a specimen. Instead, the book acts as a celebration of style and a wealth of inspiration for type-lovers and graphic designers alike. Contrasting fonts are played against each other in the densely packed pages and with the new addition of a premium metallic pink ink, the print certainly packs a visual punch.
Emmanuel Rey, the head of design at Swiss Typefaces tells It’s Nice That about the re-issued publication: “The re-run shows more of my inspirations and photographic archives as well as upcoming fonts that have never been shown before. Some lettering was replaced by others just because, and, finally, I asked the guest contributor of this issue, Thomas Louzoun, to add some elements to his illustration.”
Essentially, the Type Life series is about “experimentation, research and archive.” Accentuated through its playful layout design that pairs bold monochrome type against a punk-like neon aesthetic, the new re-issuing of the publication is reflective of an idea-busy design process. Emmanuel adds, “the creative process for Type Life is iterative. It is probably linked to my personal process for type design” and through the visually hectic spreads, we can infer that Emmanuel’s process explodes with ideas, visual references and analysis.
The whole thing is like a well-designed mind map of thought. While on the one hand, it represents the creative process of what goes through the mind of a type designer, on the other, it is a feast of design inspiration for those looking for it. As well as showcasing Swiss Typeface’s fonts such as Brrr and Krsna, the updated edition provides a glimpse into two upcoming releases.
Kopyme Asuzual is “a brutalist typeface with monospaced characters of extra wide proportions.” Emmanuel details how “its horizontal nature is offset by diagonals that shoot across the glyph space like laser beams.” The futuristic font notably “crashes through the baseline” and consequently “extends the underlying grid into a fourth underground level” giving the font a unique personality full of outlandish energy. Type Life’s update also features the new font SB Black Mamba Venom, an offshoot of the SangBleu series.
This font draws inspiration from an essay in the SangBleu book. The head designer describes “its swash letterforms” as “melting and churning as if they were drawn under the influence of the intoxicating Aztec elixir”. Wide and sturdy, the designer plays with the architectural sensibilities of the font, stacking letters in a satisfying blockish design. And what is even more pleasing to see, is how these new fonts have developed from the original publication of Type Life’s first print run. With an ethos built around constant improvements and striving for further challenges, Emmanuel finally adds, “if one day we print a third re-issue of Type Life’s first volume, there is no doubt that it will be slightly different again. I already want to upgrade some of the content.”
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