Tag Archives: Caslon

Effra Wins Red Dot Award

effra corp blog post Jonas Schudel has been awarded the coveted Red Dot: Best of the Best in the Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2013, as recognition of his work on Dalton Maag’s Corporate Edition of the Effra font family. He completed the design concept for the Latin Weights between Light and Heavy during his internships, and collaborated closely with the Dalton Maag design team on the other styles which formed the foundation for the completed and expanded Corporate font family.

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The Red Dot Design Award is one of the world’s largest design competitions. The Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen started honouring excellent design in 1954 and the Red Dot is now awarded in the disciplines of product design, design concept and communication design. The Red Dot jury evaluated 6,800 entries this year, and awarded only 62 Red Dot: Best of the Best awards for exceptional creative achievements in the field of communication design.

The Effra font family has its roots in one of the earliest sans serif designs commercially available, Caslon Junior, from 1816. The design has been updated for contemporary use, and expanded to Dalton Maag’s Corporate Edition character set. Effra’s overriding design features are its clean lines and open proportions; its circular characters hint at a geometric basis and express modernity. Where traditional Grotesque features are expected, the font family surprises with soft and humanist design details.

As well as being a professional designer, Jonas Schudel is also a lecturer at the Zurich School of Design  for Typography/Font Design on the Type Design degree course, which he has led since 2006. He also lectures on these topics at the School of Design Aargau in the area of continuing education.

Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, initiator and CEO of Red Dot said: “Every year, the days when design experts from all over the world come together for the Red Dot judging process are full of surprises and inspiration. Many of the numerous entries in the Red Dot Design Award: Communication Design 2013, coming from 43 countries, have impressed the jury. But only the best works will win an award. Only those who manage to stand out from the crowd in a competition, show high market potential and economic visibility. Winning a Red Dot is the best way to do so.”

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From Egypt to Dulwich

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Since December, I have been walking around London every Saturday, looking for bookshops and interesting type-related matters around the city. Back in 2008, I found a post on Typophile.com where James Mosley talked about William Caslon IV’s famous 2-Lines English Egyptian, that Justin Howes revived. Perhaps it’s more correct to say he made his own interpretation of the English Egyptian, for Dulwich Picture Gallery. Howes was the founder of the H. W. Caslon Type Foundry and he passed away in 2005. The post has been bookmarked on my computer ever since then.

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Five years later, I’m lucky enough to be here in London, and what’s even more lucky is that Dulwich is a place that I pass through every day to get to Dalton Maag’s studio. So a few weeks ago I got off the train at West Dulwich station, walked along the Gallery Road for 15 minutes and reached the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

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Mosley, and most type historians, believed the Egyptian type style has its deep roots within architecture – as seen in his book ‘The Nymph and The Grot’ and Alan Bartram’s ‘Type Form’. The Dulwich Picture Gallery building was designed by Sir John Soane, a  renowned British architect prevailing from the late 18th to early 19th century, who was well known for often using sans serifs for his projects. The gallery opened in 1817, which is the period around about when William Caslon IV published his 2-Lines English Egyptian. With these strong reasons, it’s not surprising that, as a Caslon geek, Howes decided to draw this particular English Egyptian for the gallery.

We don’t know why the Picture Gallery only commissioned Howes for the west Entrance/side entrance sign’s lettering. To me the side entrance sign works really well within the whole context. The original English Egyptian was of experimental purpose, one could imagine the type wouldn’t go well with each other. Howes made some slight improvements regarding the letterforms and counter-space, while still maintaining the interesting awkwardnesses, like the capital G. Punctuations and figures were also designed by Howes, so that all the awkwardnesses came together (strange A and comma, an awkward figure) to create an interesting sign for the gallery.

The look and feel inevitably looks like Gill Sans. While people have said that the Caslon-style inspired Johnston Sans, and Johnston Sans inspired Gill Sans, could there be some relations in-between? That would be an interesting story to dig deeper into. Our own Effra was inspired by the same 2-Lines English Egyptian source, although took a somewhat different approach to it.

Julius Hui