Empirica & Heldane

Two notable typefaces released on the same day yesterday. Empirica, designed by Tobias Frere-Jones with Nina Stössinger, is not just an interpretation of Trajan. They reinvented the lowercase letters. Jaime Green writes:

In contemporary typefaces, the upper- and lowercase letters are usually designed in tandem. This allows them, despite their disparate origins, to develop in aesthetic compromise, in proportions and spacing and detail. Like siblings that grow up together, they learn how to coexist from the start.

But the Roman “capitalis monumentalis” never had to find a cooperation with a parallel set of letters. If it did, though, what would its lowercase look like? Stössinger said, “This is an enduring quest that runs through typeface design history—people trying to figure out what that lowercase is.” Not to design a complementary lowercase. But to figure out what the lowercase is. For centuries, typefounders searched for a fitting lowercase, one that would feel like it had been there all along. To mix our Greeks and Romans, a Platonic lowercase, if you will. They just needed to discover it.

Heldane, designed by Kris Sowersby and engineered by Noe Blanco, is simply breathtaking. Sowersby writes:

Heldane is a contemporary serif family inspired by the renaissance works of Hendrik van den Keere, Claude Garamont, Robert Granjon and Simon de Colines. Rather than emulating a specific font, Heldane amalgamates the best details from these sources into a cohesive whole. The classical typographic foundations of Heldane are refined with rigorous digital drawing.

I am not sure if Heldane families support Vietnamese. I would love to adopt them.