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Emeric or emetic?

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Henning von Vogelsang's picture
Joined: 21 Nov 2011 - 3:38am
Emeric or emetic?

London based FontSmith has released the new sans serif typeface Emeric. It is a strange animal, part humanist sans serif, but with very geometric shapes, and yet not a grotesk.

I have mixed feelings about this typeface.

For one I applaud the fresh approach and the absolutely distinctive and original character. Fontsmith has definitely created something new with its own, unique expression. On the other hand I feel that character has been taken too far in some ways, particularly with the lowercase letter a, which looks a bit like an accident, or the lowercase g, with its squashed lower bow ending, creating a blotched joining between the upper curve of the lower belly.

Many glyphs have the feeling of metal being hammered and bent into shape.

Features like these add to the overall distinction of the font, but they also make it look a bit amateurish. From the marketing and presentation of FontSmith (they asked great design studios to create posters with the new font), I take that amateur is not the impression they want to leave behind.

I cannot say the font looks plain ugly. It does not. It has definitely a certain rugged charm to it, but it laso feels very unharmonic in some ways, and I have the feeling that I’m noticing its imperfections too much to be forgiving, or getting used to read text written in this font. This may change after seeing it applied in various context. Emeric has some architectural touch to it I really like, especially in larger sizes. In smaller sizes I cannot help stumbling over the lowercase g with every line I read.

What do you think?


Lukas Schiltknecht's picture
Joined: 29 Mar 2013 - 5:43am

I like your review particularly the part with the metaphor for hammered metal, that’s precisely describing my impression of the font. The lowercase “g” is always a difficult letter, that offers a lot of room for personal opinion. Though i can’t agree, that i stumble upon it, when i read it. But when i take a second look, i think the regular lowercase “a” has a very rough round shape in the middle. And i instantly liked the concept of having a double story “g” for the regular font-style and a single story for the italic. Same goes for the “a”. The lowercase “c” has a bit of a big head especially in Extra Bold font-style.
All in all i think that it’s far from any amateur-font, but i think i see why you get an amateurish impression by taking a closer look. Anyway thanks for the review.
best regards

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am

Interesting design, and nice analysis.

There's a difference between not knowing how to make fonts versus looking like you don't... Quite often though it's pretty hard to tell the difference, and even though I'm not a fan of either I think the way one can incorporate "undesign" into a typeface does fascinate me. Even if the vast majority of "undesign" efforts are junk (what else is new?) I'm not sure this one is. And I might never be able to make up my mind...

See this too:
Everybody knows Darden can make polished fonts, so there's something else going on.


Henning von Vogelsang's picture
Joined: 21 Nov 2011 - 3:38am

Thanks for the link. I am not sure if Emeric is really undesign. I didn’t mean to say it had an amateur approach. I don’t know why exactly, but it reminds me of Liverpool in the fifties and steelworkers.