Solex Font Family

Category: Fonts, Date: 3-05-2017, 18:34, Views: 99

 

Zuzana Licko's latest typeface family, Solex, is her first release in nearly two years. It is a more conservative and studious exploration of the industrial sans serif genre and its past than she has undertaken before. Licko has allowed herself to be lured by ideas that have interested many a type designer while maintaining a footing in her own ideas and using her own methods to express them. Readers who are familiar with her work will also see that Solex is in keeping with Licko's curious name choices. She has a penchant for giving her typefaces one-word names that end with x - Elektrix, Lunatix, Matrix, Triplex, Variex...
Seasoned type designers tend to fall back on old ways. Some habits are evident in the design work and some are not. Much has to do with the way a type designer perceives letterforms and brings them to life as type. In Solex, traces of Licko's recent sans serif types, such as Base and Tarzana, can be seen. There are some very clear carry-overs, such as the way Licko tends to taper or turn the stub of a stem where it sprouts from a bowl, and the way she chooses to emphasize distinct geometric verticality in the shapes of counters. Both are familiar themes.
Inevitably, when a type designer has already designed several sans serif faces, personal biases become noticeable. In any survey of this sort, a certain amount of redundancy is to be expected. It's practically unavoidable. This is typical, too, when an artist uses a limited palette, as Jeffery Keedy observed about Licko's work in the foreword to Emigre (The Book) (1993).
Since sans serif types are unadorned and spare, they normally allow for fewer design possibilities than serif types. This tends to be true in the limited domain of text, but not in the larger domain of display, which is where and why sans serif types were born.
When designing a sans serif type specifically for text, there is not enormous latitude for experimentation, partly because there are no serif structures to design and test. Thus, there are altogether fewer details than one finds in a serif type. As a result, actual innovations are rare and repetitions are commonplace. Paradoxically, though, the array of sans serif types that could be considered marginally suitable for text is wider than the array of serif types considered marginally suitable for text - particularly with respect to weight, width, and proportion.
Because of their display origins, sans serif types are less bound to scholarly custom than types cut purposely for extended texts. And, even though sans serif types sometimes do prove useful for short blocks of continuous reading, sans serif types are not infinitely useful for long tracts. They're not deeply rooted in the larger reading tradition. After all, sans serif types have existed for barely one-third of typographic history. They are still young, by antiquarian standards. Yet, despite their youth and their seemingly limited range of traditional uses, evidently, no one designer of sans serif types has explored all corners of the existing territory. Moreover, few designers have independently explored as many corners as Licko has, and even fewer have personally mapped as many new ones.

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