Tag Archives: Eric Olson

FF Absara and Klavika

Today we look at Xavier Dupré’s FF Absara paired with Eric Olson’s Klavika.

FF-Absara-and-Klavika-1You’ve doubtless seen Klavika before; its popular uses include high-profile identities and campaigns for Comcast, NBC, General Motors, others. The contemporary geometric sans finds a nice complement in FF Absara’s reductionist humanism. The faces’ carefully-placed hooks and overall low contrast serve as common threads to keep the two cohesive.

FF Absara comes in two optical sizes, a tightly-fitting headline, and text for setting body copy, above, (left and middle columns). Klavika additionally offers condensed weights for greater flexibility in editorial or other work. Together the two achieve a fully contemporary feel.
FF-Absara-and-Klavika-3 FF-Absara-and-Klavika-6 FF-Absara-and-Klavika-4 FF-Absara-and-Klavika-5 Great Pairs continue here each Wednesday.

Type Trends: The Monospaced Aesthetic

When we left off last time I was right in the middle of monospace as a tacked-on nice-to-have variant for well developed superfamilies. Something changed though around the turn of the last century as designers in growing numbers seemed to turn back and look at the loose monospace aesthetic, appreciating it for what it was on its own. In contrast to what I call ‘documentary’ types—single face revivals mainly, entire families were begun to exist solely in monospace, or with monospace as a starting point. It’s this last point that I’m keen on identifying. What faces have you seen that aren’t monospaced, but come from the same, loosely spaced tradition?

FF Magda Clean Mono

Critzla, Cornel Windlin, & Henning Krause’s FF Magda Clean / Mono, 1998.


In 2002, Process Type’s first release was a monospace, Kettler, named after Howard Kettler, the designer of Courier and several other typewriter type designs.

MVB Fantabular

Akemi Aoki’s MVB Fantabular, 2002. Nitti Pieter van Rosmalen’s Nitti, 2007, now with italic, as of a couple weeks ago. Nitti feels to me to have taken its lessons from Helvetica Monospaced and similar Monospaced 821. It’s one of the most even-colored monospaced faces, even in its heavier weights.

Alix FBMatthew Butterick’s Alix FB, 2011. FF Suhmo  Alex Rütten’s FF Suhmo, 2010. Not monospaced, but still exhibiting some of its effects.


Benjamin Gomez’s Treza, 2010.


Miles Newlyn’s Rubrik, 2011. Miles cites the monospace aesthetic of the typewriter when starting on Rubrik.

Tight Fit: Elena and Anchor

Though not designed in tandem, Eric Olson’s Anchor and Nicole Dotin’s Elena were drawn with an awareness of one another, and happen to pair well. I could argue that Anchor pairs well with just about any text face given its compact structure, rounded stroke endings, and nondescript style. But particularly with Elena, Anchor lets show its best qualities in this interplay between loose and taut.

Created specifically for compact, legible headers, Anchor’s warm temperament shines at generous display sizes and cools slightly in the subhead range. With Elena, Anchor takes on a slightly more serious grotesque tone, like an Univers Ultra Condensed but without losing its Americanness, like a nice skyline gothic. As one takes Anchor up in weight, its ability to keep a straight face diminishes, particularly when displaying more involved lettershapes, like its quirky ampersand.

Anchor on the other hand plays up Elena’s lively side. Note Elena’s strong diagonal motion starting from its baseline serifs upward. Elena is a fully contemporary text face, achieving its immense readability though lessons taken from Renaissance and Neoclassical types. On its own, it’s Elena’s texture more than anything that impresses me.

Set carefully, Elena works at modest display sizes, though it’s good to keep in mind that text faces are designed to work at text sizes.

A general note on pairing: You’ll see that I rely heavily on the text face, in this case, Elena to do the heavy lifting in my compositions, and that I allow the secondary face to serve the reader primarily in navigating the piece. As mentioned before in this series, one of the challenges of practicing great typography is learning to manage the relationships between faces that take on opposite roles. To learn what each is capable of on its own isn’t enough. One rather needs to—through experience—see how the two interact in a variety of settings.

Catch another Great Pairs here on Wednesday.