TypograFriday: All Your Slab Are Belong to H&FJ

Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, typographic superstars who positioned themselves so strategically in their field that they registered typography.com, have recently announced their third serif in two years.

While many type designers create their faces primarily out of their passions, H&FJ made their decision with market strategy in mind as well. It’s pretty clear by now that the era we’re in (and hopefully not leaving too soon) will be judged by history to be an age of slab serif. And like a pool hustler suddenly sinking shot after shot, it’s breathtaking to watch how quickly H&FJ have created three of the strongest, most fully-featured slabs on the market.

vinesse
Vitesse
, their newest, is their foray into the type of the moment: a square-based slab. But just when I find myself absolutely loving its stylish proportions, it screams out something ultramasculine (I can see it on high priced electronics and sports magazines alike).

sentinel
Sentinel
, which seems like it just came out, is their Clarendon. It’s explicitly designed (like Canada Type’s Clarendon Text) to work better in text settings than most clarendons, plus it has an unmatched range of weights.

archer
And Archer, their Antique slab with cute as a button ball terminals and a large range of hairline weights, still has us drooling.

Four more of our favorite slabs that aren’t by H&FJ and that we didn’t feature in our last slabs roundup:

caecilamuseoslab
graniteneutraliser

PMN Caecila • Before the 21st century slab rennaissance this was my favorite. And I love that most books on the Kindle are set in it, so pleasant.

Museo Slab • if Archer is too expensive, start with the free weight of Museo; the whole set is pretty affordable.

Granite • Alright so this isn’t a text face but I love it so much I’m putting it in here anyway. I’m a big fan of Gareth Hague’s sense of proportion in general; his faces have a noteworthy elegance. This extreme-contrast slab is no exception.

Neutraliser • Actually now that Vitesse is on the market, art directors at men’s magazines everywhere are find/replacing their captions paragraph style from Neutraliser to Vitesse. But in 2004, it was certainly ahead of the curve

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1 comment to TypograFriday: All Your Slab Are Belong to H&FJ

  • Thanks for the kind words about Archer, Sentinel and Vitesse. How I wish it were true that we were in a position to capitalize on trends — the truth is that this is simply the order in which we finished these projects! They’re all ones that started years ago, Vitesse in 2000, Archer in 2001, and Sentinel in 2004. It’s odd for even me to see that there’s no correlation between when a font is started, and when it’s finished, but makes me feel a little better about one of our forthcoming releases, which if you can believe it started in 1989. Frightening.

    JH

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