To celebrate ten years in print, Kinfolk undergoes total redesign with custom typefaces from Schick Toikka
The new direction aims to be sharp, refined and contemporary, while setting Kinfolk apart amongst the crowd.
- Ruby Boddington
- 23 June 2021
To celebrate ten years in print, Kinfolk, the magazine dedicated to all things home, work, style and culture across a community of creative professionals, has undergone a complete redesign by Alex Hunting Studio. Alongside the development of the editorial design and art direction, Alex Hunting, founder of the aforementioned studio and also the design director of Kinfolk, collaborated with Schick Toikka on a set of custom typefaces for the mag.
With any good magazine, you tend to see certain elements on its design popping up across the publishing world and that was certainly the case with Kinfolk. With this in mind, Hunting explains that the team were keen to “keep things moving so that the title remains distinctive,” he tells It's Nice That. “I wanted to bring some more expression into the pages, as well as more typographic and editorial detail, to try and set ourselves apart again.” In particular, he was eager to centre the redesign around a “distinctive typographical approach”, hence the collaboration with Schick Toikka, which has created text, deck and display serif cuts (with italics), as well as a secondary sans-serif. In turn, the design team has more control over every aspect of the type hierarchy and a solid foundation from which to build its editorial perspective.
GalleryAlex Hunting Studio and Schick Toikka: Kinfolk Custom Type (Copyright © Kinfolk, 2021)
The brief to the Berlin and Helsinki-based foundry was to “create a ‘sharp and refined’ contemporary-feeling serif family with triangular wedge-shaped serifs.” Hunting explains further: “I wanted a comprehensive serif family, from a legible text cut through to a distinctive display cut. Alongside this, I wanted a complementary workhorse sans-serif for captioning and additional body text uses. I was particularly keen to explore how we could inject even more character into the display settings for the typography.” He also asked for an extensive set of alternate upper case ligatures to use on feature headlines and section openers. A specific and thorough brief, Hunting says Schick Toikka “totally understood the direction, interpreting technical notes but also quite abstract emotive ideas about the typography.”
Lauri Toikka, who runs the foundry alongside Florian Schick describes being immediately drawn to the challenge when Hunting approached them. As Kinfolk is so well known for its high-quality editorial content, photography and design, the studio wanted to match that aesthetic, providing typefaces “with a timeless, yet fresh and refined visual look.” It needed to be stylish and sharp but with enough personality to impress Kinfolk’s discerning readers. As such, “the letters feature small flared details and varying transitional contrast flow in order to create a lively texture.” Featuring six different styles as per Hunting’s brief, together, the suite of fonts “create a compact but versatile palette that serves all the typographic needs of the magazine, from impressive headlines to longer articles,” she adds.
Alongside these typographic updates, a major change involves dropping the iconic white bars from the cover. It was a decision made alongside a whole host of other amends that place the reader experience front and centre, including changing the grid structure to accommodate larger body text formats. A new paper stock has also been introduced and Hunting has worked hard at improving “colour reproduction and tactility.”
The tenth-anniversary edition is out now, fittingly themed “Future”.
Alex Hunting Studio: Kinfolk Redesign (Copyright © Kinfolk, 2021)
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.