We are pleased to welcome Underware to Webtype, along with three of their most popular and expressive typefaces.
At the end of the 20th century, not long after a decade dominated by the Grunge aesthetic, a new group of young designers entered the type scene, producing accomplished, versatile families. Digital type design had reached a new maturity in which well-trained but independent boutique shops made fonts as professional as those issued by the large, established foundries.
Underware was at the head of this new class. Fresh out of grad school at KABK’s Type and Media program in The Hague, Akiem Helmling, Bas Jacobs, and Sami Kortemäki infused their typefaces with a youthfulness combined with rich influences from their backgrounds in Germany, The Netherlands, and Finland. 15 years later, Underware is still setting trends and delighting audiences with inventive and useful fonts.
Now Underware type will be available via the reliability and convenience of the Webtype service. The first batch of the foundry’s fonts to hit our collection is Bello, Auto, and Fakir.
Bello is Underware’s first hit, favored by designers for the effortless way it conveys energy and joy. While informed by traditional handwriting and brush scripts, Bello is rendered in a undeniably contemporary way. It translates the work of a traditional sign painter into the here and now. This ebullience is especially effective on the web, where we are accustomed to seeing plain and sober stuff. The inky Caps font offers a toned down companion to the script.
Here are a few of the many ligatures and swashes that give Bello a hand-lettered flow. Ligatures improve connections and reduce duplicate shapes, while Titling and Swash alts add flourishes to the beginning and ending of words. Learn how to use these OpenType features on the web.
Auto is not a handwriting typeface, but it is unmistakably made by the same hand(s) that wrought Bello. Amiable and lively, yet still clean and readable, Auto is a friendly sans that can do the corporate, white-collar work usually reserved for duller types. It is armed with the extensive language support, small caps, and figure sets required for editorial and corporate uses, but what makes it unique is its three – yes three! – kinds of italics. These variants present the opportunity to choose a specific style for standard emphasis, or — for the more adventurous — use more than one italic style to distinguish content types without changing typefaces.
Auto 1 Italic leans gently but the forms remain spare. Auto 2 Italic adds elements of a traditional oldstyle italic, with tails, serifs, and other turns of stroke. Auto 3 Italic is nearly upright in stance, but almost ornamental in shape — it’s as calligraphic as a modern monolinear sans serif can get.
Fakir is another prime example of what Underware does best: add life and accessibility to a long established (and often antiquated) category of type. In this case, the target was the Textura blackletter. Fakir contemporizes the old gothic form by transforming less familiar Textura forms into romanized forms. This makes it more readable to a wider audience than most typefaces in its category. For moments that call for more flavor, Fakir Display brings back more blackletter character.
It is something of an anniversary for these three Underware families, as they were all introduced to the print world about ten years ago. Webtype is honored to introduce Bello, Auto, and Fakir to a new audience on the web, where they offer a lively alternative to more mundane and poorly designed options in each of their categories. Stay tuned — we’ll be adding more Underware fonts in the coming months!