Tag Archives: Cyrus Highsmith

Pona and Salvo Sans


This week we examine the pairing of Jordi Embodas’s Pona and Cyrus Highsmith’s Salvo Sans. Our look will more or less be a quick study in typographic texture, a pairing of coarse and smooth. As I generally do when working with two faces, I line up their styles to get a sense for what’s working.


Pona comes off incredibly even-colored, a contemporary pushing along of the great page presence had by late baroque and neoclassical types before it. Note how the rhythm of the stems, overall relaxed fit, and high stroke contrast contribute to a rich, sophisticated, smooth texture.

Add to that the much coarser texture of Salvo Sans’s exuberant gestures and near-monolinear stroke. The result is a text that warms to its subheads, and a titles that – though casual – stay on their best behavior.


Great Pairs drop here Wednesdays.

Rational and Quirky: New Fournier and Scout

b+p New Fournier, Scout

Let’s take a quick look into the relationship between François Rappo’s New Fournier and Cyrus Highsmith’s Scout. Scout takes its influence from lots of sources. More particularly, its letterforms tend to favor the English grotesque, while its fit and detail feel equal parts American gothic and contemporary sans.

Scout, New Fournier

b+p New Founier

b+p New Founier Italic

Pierre Fournier’s work preceded and greatly influenced the designers of Romantic types such as Bodoni. An exact attention to detail renders the face both circumspect and human, seen most plainly here in the italic.  This particular Fournier happens to include several carefully drawn optical sizes for setting headlines and display pieces as seen in the Large Headline weight below.

New Fournier, Scout

Together, each plays it straight as much as it has to, while allowing the other to indulge in a bit of play. Using composition to one’s advantage, this can show up as an occasional wisecrack or a regular piece of the typographic texture.

Typographic Countdown — 3 Days ’til 2012

Two (2) is another arabic numeral. I guess I had always assumed the reason why the currency sign goes in front of the numbers is because arabic numerals were written and read from right to left. So $5 reads ‘five dollars’ and not ‘dollars five.’ The problem with this hypothesis is that the people who designed ‘arabic’ numerals were Indians who read and wrote left to right. That’s not to say that the Arabic language didn’t have its way with these numerals when the time came, I just don’t know that that’s true.

In Western culture we tend to group things in pairs. Things that don’t occur in multiples of two we call odd. Managing the relationship between opposing pairs is the essence of composition, for what figure could exist if there were no ground?

Escrow Roman by Cyrus Highsmith stands up nice and tall in Scotch Modern style.