Skolar, originally designed for academic publishing, creates an appealing, vigorous texture on the page. A close look at the forms themselves reveals the reliance upon the manual models that inform its appearance. The extensively gifted family, linguistically speaking, supports Greek and Cyrillic, as well as Gujarati and Devanagari, (you’ll need to contact the foundry directly for those). Typographically speaking, the glyph palette leaves little room for want, including small caps, math symbols, and all the most common super- and subscripts (scientific superiors and inferiors) and many you may wonder whose standards require. In sum, it’s a family with range.
When I first came across Erik Spiekermann’s HWT Artz, I didn’t know the backstory, and assuming the label meant that what I was seeing was a digital revival from the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum’s extensive holdings, I was surprised that they had inventoried anything from Germany at all. I wrote an e-mail to Erik. Then I found out the real story. HWT Artz, like HWT Van Lanen is one of a handful of original designs produced at the Hamilton Museum into working wood type having existed first as digital type. The other example that comes to mind is Nick Sherman’s Brylski. (All three of these carry the names of Hamilton Museum workers and founders.) From its conception, HWT Artz accepted as a design constraint that the forms require as little hand finishing as possible, meaning that all sharp angles were to be eliminated in order to allow the width of the pantographic router bit (the means of production) to traverse the tight interior and exterior spaces it left behind.
On its own, though only a single weight and with minimal alternates, HWT Artz makes a strong statement. With Skolar, the two lend each other support, though there’s no question who maintains the dominant role.
Great Pairs continues here Wednesday.