Designing Type Revivals


By Riccardo Olocco and Michele Patanè

Many typefaces created today are related to types of the past, and interest in older letterforms is stimulated by the great number of visual resources available. We are surrounded by digital fonts based in one way or another on historical models, but it is clear that we cannot consider all of them as revivals.

So, how to distinguish a type revival from a typeface that is loosely based on historical forms? More reflection on this subject is necessary, both to help navigate the landscape of contemporary typefaces, and to give greater clarity to discussions on the history of type.

This 104-page publication provides tools for researching and designing revival types. A concise publication that will show a practical perspective and fresh content, fueling the conversation among and between designers and scholars.

The content is organized into four parts beginning with a definition of the theoretical landscape, including a definition of revivals, and a discussion on the boundaries of a revival project. The second part introduces the framework of analysis developed for recording the relevant design features of the type used as a model. In the third part, Olocco and Patané apply the framework to the roman type cut by Francesco Griffo for the De Aetna (1496). Based on this analysis, the fourth part showcases the process of reviving this historical type.

Although the authors focus on defining a procedure to design a type revival, the suggestions can be adopted beyond the scope of a revival project. Their approach ensures a strong connection with any original source and a substantial help towards understanding how to employ historical models in a contemporary context.

With a preface by Gerry Leonidas

Designed by Riccardo Olocco and Michele Patanè
Edited by Gerry Leonidas

Published by Lazy Dog Press, 2022

Softcover, 112 pages, full color, 4.8 × 8.25 inches

ISBN: 978-88-98030-48-4

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