Gourmand Grotesque

To mark the launch of its two new typefaces The Gourmand magazine has produced a limited-edition type sample which doubles as a recipe book.

The exclusive fonts, named Grotesque 777 and Grotesque 888, were designed collaboratively by Monotype Designer, Gunnar Vilhjálmsson, and The Gourmand’s creative director, David Lane.

Delving into Monotype’s archive Gunnar took inspiration from a collection of original and unused 20th Century sans serif typefaces, harnessing various features and characteristics to create a unique, contemporary design.

I had the opportunity to ask Gunnar, a type designer from Iceland, about his process and the challenges.

What was the most challenging part of the design process?

We referenced elements from seven different Monotype Grotesque faces in the design process, everything from weight, proportions and spacing of letterforms. In a few cases we directly adopted shapes like the charming ampersand from Monotype Series 527. 

 In spite of the heavy inspiration taken from the Monotype legacy, we still wanted the design of Grotesque 777 & 888 to be original and tailored to The Gourmand. A big challenge was finding a satisfying balance between creating a new order while maintaining the historical quirks in a sophisticated way.

Where did the, very functional, names come from?

Naming of the faces, Grotesque 777 and Grotesque 888, derives from the working title of a typeface we stumbled upon in the Monotype Archive, called Grotesque Series 666. I think it was never released.

The ampersand is particularly distinctive. Where did this design originate from?

The shapes of the ampersand from Series 527 and the italic lowercase ‘f’ from Series 150 were directly adopted, with minor modifications.

Below are the reference material from Monotypes’s archive, showing that distinctive ‘&’ and ‘f’:

In the final type spec each highlighted character is matched with an interesting and unusual recipe from The Gourmands past issues.

B is for three blue cocktails…

…and the recipe:

J is for Jeff Koons…

…and his recipe:


Monotype Recorder: Relaunch

If you’ve been to any of the Monotype exhibitions over the last couple of years you may have seen the beautiful, faded copies of the Monotype Recorder, a printed magazine that seemed to recede with metal type.

The original magazine first published over 100 years ago has been redesigned and re-imagined, reinvigorating its original beauty and compelling content.

The twice-yearly magazine aims to celebrate and explore type’s role in almost every aspect of our visual culture and the wider implications of how typography contributes to a broader cultural context.

Making its first appearance in 1902, and eventually edited by the formidable Beatrice Warde, The Recorder was published by the company that produced the machines that today’s Monotype derives its name from. In regular publication as a trade magazine for around 70 years (with a hiatus for much of WWII), it covered everything from technology and typeface releases to historic features; offering readers an in-depth look at the type industry.

This first new issue adopts a new approach, exploring type from a more cultural standpoint, and showing how its influence has played a role in our lives over the years, in everything from street signs to sci-fi. We’ve explored traditional forms of working, as well as the way a new generation of designers are interpreting type’s role, and the way people respond to it. We’ve considered how letterforms have been used to portray our hopes and fears for the future, both in the design industry and in pop culture, and we’ve looked at how history and culture have contributed to the development and popularity of particular styles of handwriting and typefaces. The first issue also features a photo story that goes behind the working process of one of the most well-respected British printers and typographers – the artist Alan Kitching. In collaboration with paper company Mohawk, the entire issue is printed on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite, with a foil blocked cover, spot colours, and two throw-out sections.


  • Jamie Murphy of The Salvage Press
  • Illustrator David Doran
  • Design legend Alan Kitching
  • Ghost signs expert Sam Roberts
  • Ingo Italic and Bärbel Bold
  • Illustrator Neasden Control Centre
  • Jessica Svendsen, Abbott Miller and more.

Available here.


Wes Anderson is a director known for films such as Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. His style has become very distinguished, aspects can be categorised and appear in all of his cinematic endeavours. For example camera framing and movement, he uses tracking shots a lot to give momentum. One scene that stands out in particular is "Let me tell you about my boat" from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou:


Anderson is also known for his use of symmetry, the sets with the placement of props and characters create a balance and lead the eye to the focal centre point. Colour and pattern plays another big role in his films. bursts of colour work with more muted hues.These palettes lend themselves to the nostalgic feel his films display. His characters also reflect this obsession with the past, and dysfunctional families is a recurring theme, as well as the role of a strong protagonist.

These aspects combine to form Wes Andersons style as a director, a style that has developed and become more prominent throughout his filmography. This consistency is sometimes critisised, but overall his films are always well received.

Wes Anderson could be a good director to pick for this brief, because his films are so visually strong and they all have a distinctive style, it could be interesting to come up with a way to reflect these themes typographically.  





100 Years of Type In Design

As part of the forthcoming AIGA exhibition in New York, Monotype has collaborated with one of my favourite typographers, Alan Kitching, to produce a set of letterpress based posters.

Alan’s posters celebrate five legendary designers, with type choices and colours are based on his experience working with them. Each of the prints will be used to create 800 limited-edition silkscreen copies. The designers are:

F H K Henrion worked for clients including the BBC, Shell, BP, the UN, USF, Guinness.
Tom Eckersley worked for Shell-Mex; British Petroleum; the British Broadcasting Corporation; London Transport; the Ministry of Information; Gillette; The United Nations Children’s Fund.
Abram Games worked for Financial Times, Guinness, BA, Transport for London, UN and Penguin.
Josef Muller-Brockmann brought the De Stijl, Constructivist and Bauhaus movements to Modern practice. He was the IBM lead graphic designer in Europe.
Paul Rand needs little introduction.

Alan Kitching: “What distinguishes these designers is their intelligent and witty use of the type and image which they combined together to make a powerful graphic statement.”

Overall, the centennial exhibition looks fantastic. Starting on 1st of May it’s organised by Monotype and designed by Abbott Miller of Pentagram. It features rare and unique works from the archives of a whole host of partners including, Type Directors ClubHamilton Wood Type & Printing MuseumThe Type Archive and The Herb Lubalin Study Center

Thanks to James Fooks-Bale, Monotype’s creative director and co-curator of Century, for pointing me to this—and sharing that brilliant picture of Alan.


The Recorder // Classifying Signs

I’m a little late in posting about this, but during the summer I had the pleasure of being involved in the first (re)issue of Monotype’s classic typography magazine The Recorder.

I made these four illustrations for an article that discusses how different uses of typography in public areas can affect the social class of an area. ”It’s there in the conflict between the authoritative sans-serifs of Hampstead, and the hastily-pasted plastic signage of Southwark; the Goudy-style blackletter of Kensington and the informal mish-mash of typographic styles on Peckham’s shop fronts.”

A big thank you to designer/art director Luke Tonge and editor Emma Tucker for making it such an enjoyable project!

Check out the following for magazine reviews and interviews: It’s Nice That // FormFiftyFive // Stack Magazines // YCN