Flat-It Type Foundry is an independent type foundry based in Japan, offering an eclectic range of display faces at great value for money. While enrolled in the graduate program for architecture at University, Ryoichi Tsunekawa – founder and sole designer of Flat-It – took up designing type in his free time. His output is inspired by vintage lettering, and includes scripts, retro designs, and experimental faces. Upon graduating and finding work as an architect and engineer, Ryoichi returned to his passion for type, and established his own digital foundry in 2005. Since then discerning designers and art directors from all over the world have discovered his charming library of novelty type for a variety of occasions. And the inexpensive price tag certainly doesn’t hurt.
One of Flat-It’s most striking designs – Sneaker Script – was name-checked a while ago in Fun With Vintage 70s and 80s Porn Logos on The FontFeed. This script demonstrates an uncommon dimensionality. The monolinear stroke loops in front of itself as the word progresses, like a long shoelace or toothpaste from the tube. Tsunekawa managed such smooth connections using the power of OpenType contextual alternates. A set of underline swashes is included to fit a broad range of word lengths.
If you ever wondered what the illicit love-child of the classic square slab serif City and Sybille Hagmann’s multi-facetted Cholla would look like, I am pretty sure Thousands wouldn’t be too far from the truth. The typographic flexibility of this unusual family is reflected in its name, with fonts of over 1900 glyphs and combinations. Transform the straightforward mechanical slab serif into a decorative display face by implementing its stylistic alternates, ligatures, and snap-on swashes.
Another design with numerous ligatures and alternates is Camera, a simple, rounded geometric display sans. This contemporary design has a distinct Art Deco flavour, and is somewhat similar to DSType’s very popular Estilo.
Yasashii however is unabashedly Art Deco, a true period design. It comes in two variants – a monoline Hairline version, and a Broadway-inspired stressed variant – both in Regular and Bold. Select the alternate character shapes through any combination of the five Stylistic Sets, which make fine-tuning headlines and logos fast and easy.
Rouge is a somewhat experimental design; an organic, hand drawn geometric sans with cartoony overtones. The wildly varying character sizes and bouncy baseline allow the user to mix capitals and small letters at will, resulting in a lively setting.
When it comes to bouncy baselines, the joyous design Perfect Magic also knows how it’s done. This casual face with spiky serifs is clearly inspired by vintage 50s ads and packaging, cartoons and television shows. It is perfect for adding some fun and playfulness to any retro design.
Just as bouncy and relaxed, Garash and Garash Script are hand drawn display faces with triangular serifs, ideal for that 70s underground comic book style. Peace.
Concrete Stencil is a peculiar typeface: a stencil script in two weights with built-in roman capital variants. Instead of having to switch fonts, simply select the Titling Alternates OpenType feature to switch from connected script to a stressed sans in small caps. Unusual, but very useful.
Hailing from the American vernacular, the related designs Grandes Vacances and Mademoiselle are loose, simplified interpretations of the decorative woodtype faces favoured by vintage circus and carnival posters. It also conjures op images of the old movie theaters and the Las Vegas strip. Grandes Vacances comes with the added bonus that its two separate upper and lower halves allow for two-tone composition. Rounding out this family is Homemade Text, a variant without ornaments for setting casual serif text.
From circus posters to music posters, Moon Star Soul and Rebel Train Goes were designed with specific musical genres in mind – respectively funk, and ska/soul/reggae. The former has an experimental Mid-Century Modern flavour; the latter looks like a Wild West slab serif on acid.
Besides all these diverse and imaginative display faces, Flat-It also does fonts that imitate genuine hand written scripts. Banana and Nothing are both rhythmic interpretations of swift, but legible handwriting. They are upright, rather wide, with a slight stress. Alternates ease connections and lend flexibility. Banana is the more restrained of the two, while Nothing is wider, and a little more energetic and loopy.
This unassuming, fun new library offers something for everyone, and is sure to please type enthusiasts and professional designers alike. And these days the modest price tag is a considerable advantage.
09.04.2010 - 11.58.36
Posted by Unzipper
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