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Bold Monday adds five daring designs to Type Network

Surprising type designs by Pieter van Rosmalen, Paul van der Laan, and Jacques Le Bailly defy expectations.

Bilo began with Pieter van Rosmalen’s attempt to design a low-contrast sans-serif counterpart for Bodoni. The rather oblong o of the black weight inspired him to draw an extra-bold grotesque with a strong personality; other references to Bodoni include the subtly concave top terminals and the steep angle of the italics. The family of nine weights from Hairline to Black with matching italics features a few design details that hint at nineteenth-century English charm: the G’s “chin,” the Q’s tail, the R’s leg, and the tense bowl on the a. A variety of strategically drawn alternates allow the user to tone down or emphasize the vintage look; an additional single-storey alternate a gives Bilo the appearance of a geometric sans. In addition to a handy set of arrows, each style includes eighteen adorable dog-related icons.

Specimen showing a selection of styles of Bilo and Oskar
Bilo and Oskar are contemporary typefaces with subtle hints of days gone by—Bilo carries whiffs of nineteenth-century English grotesques, and Oskar’s refined caps recall early-twentieth-century Dutch architectural and advertising lettering.

Paul van der Laan initially designed Oskar for an interbellum building in The Hague by Dutch architect Jan Duiker. Later, Van der Laan expanded the typeface into a titling family in caps and small caps. Inspired by architectural and commercial lettering from the art-deco period, the capitals are characterized by their stylish geometry and a low crossbar on the A. Oskar comes in two flavors: Oskar One has stylized letterforms with sharp apexes and straight, horizontal finials on circular letter parts; Oskar Two’s sheared, convex corners and more conventional C, G, S, 2, 3, and 5 make it look a little softer. Each flavor has three weights, all available as solid and inline variants, for a total of twelve styles. Use Oskar to create distinguished signage in and on buildings and in wayfinding systems, or to set striking titling typography in editorial design, on posters and packaging, and in branding programs.

With Macula, Jacques Le Bailly achieved the impossible—literally. Drawing inspiration from the Penrose triangle (an optical illusion invented in the 1930s by Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvärd) and the mind-bending art of iconic Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, he drew three-dimensional letterforms that could not exist in the material world. Mixing up the connections between the front and side planes in the extruded shapes subverts readers’ expectations and turns Macula into a fascinating cypher. Contextual alternates flip between two variants of the glyphs, altering the point of view for each new character and enhancing the dimensionality of the text. Besides the ready-made Line and Shaded style, Macula offers component styles that can be combined and layered at will to set stunning polychromatic text. Stylistic alternates for the A, E, N, and O add an angular, Greek-inspired touch to this outrageous beauty.

Specimen showing a selection of styles of Macula and Nitti Mostro
Macula and Nitti Mostro play with dimensionality. By channeling M.C. Escher’s mind-bending graphic art, Macula creates impossible perspectives; Nitti Mostro offers countless layering combinations for effects ranging from chiseled to disco.

Nitti Mostro is a monster, the most extravagant in Pieter van Rosmalen’s suite of “Italo-American Grotesques” that also comprises Nitti, Nitti Typewriter, and Nitti Grotesk. The short ascenders and descenders, tight letter-fitting, and some altered shapes in this heaviest weight of the Nitti extended family allow for compact typesetting. The typeface exists in four main variants, all equipped with a solid and a shadow variant. Nitti Mostro, the basic style, offers several types of decorations—Inline, Gradient, Stripes, and Chrome—both as standalone fonts and as layering elements for daring combinations. Nitti Mostro Comic has blunt corners; Nitti Mostro Disco’s multiline Inline dazzles, and Nitti Mostro Stencil gets real with its Rough style. And wait until you discover the nine cute monster icons hidden in its character set.

Specimen showing a selection of styles of Alterego
Alterego takes modular type design to the extreme with astute grid patterns that can be layered in countless ways.

If you thought Nitti Mostro was Pieter van Rosmalen at his most adventurous, think again. Alterego takes Van Rosmalen back to his original love: he started out as a type designer creating pixel fonts and modular display type. While there is no real technical reason anymore to develop bitmap fonts, their peculiar aesthetic still invites exploration. The idea for Alterego came from an experiment in 2001, when Van Rosmalen duplicated bitmap letters on top of each other in Photoshop and started playing with the order of the layers and their transparency. He revisited the experiment for this daring design, drawing letters as grids of horizontal and vertical lines in five weights, with four distinct finishes for the heaviest iteration. Identical metrics make it possible to layer different weights to create mind-boggling typographic textures. Not content with simply designing a fun display font, Van Rosmalen expanded the usual Latin Extended character set to support Vietnamese, Greek, Extended Cyrillic, and Hebrew—a true linguistic tour de force.

All Bold Monday fonts are available for print, web, applications, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days; desktop trials are available upon request. To stay current on all things Bold Monday, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.

The Type Network Staff sees beauty behind all monsters, no matter how grotesque.