Setting out to create a tool for optimal reading comfort in commercial word processing, Alex Dujet started working on the initial ideas for ES Face, independent Swiss type foundry Extraset’s new typeface, back in 2016. Blossoming into a stunning serif, ES Face balances the heritage of the transitional typefaces that originated around the 18th century with contemporary design finishes, resulting in a fresh take on a much-loved classic.
Keeping in mind the need to develop an incisive and contemporary project, the designer says he has been focusing on different stylistic sets and partially geometric drawing in recent years – a necessity, he adds, to offer radical solutions to some of the terminals of the typeface when using it for titling.
“The available OpenType options allow a versatile oscillation of the characters,” says Alex, running us through ES Face’s features. “ES Face offers a default set articulating the ends of its terminals in the form of drops, and a set called ‘straight,’ which focuses on the finishes of certain straight letters for a sharper design look. The ‘Default set’ holds similarities with typefaces such as Times New Roman – it deals with neutral needs and precision for reading – while the ‘Straight set’ is more oriented to a contemporary vision of a serif typeface, maybe more usable in fashion or pure titling contexts, but it works perfectly for text as well.”
“The purpose of the project,” he continues, “was to gather both of these important finishes in one tool, in order to provide choices around the same structure to users. The most important creative part at the end of this project was to focus on this italic weight; the idea was to bring something special to it to magnify subjects into long text parts. This angle in the middle of the stems of certain letters brings something ‘luminous’ when readers are faced to the subject. And also, two different choices for ‘&’ and ‘3’ were elaborated to get more or less neutrality or assertive positioning.”
ES Face developed through a few phases, but it ultimately served to add a transitional typeface to Extraset’s collection and feed into Alex’s pursuit of versatile design tools with sharp, precise finishes. “Thanks to the Extraset Team for all the support behind the project – Rainer Schechelbauer, Miriam Surànyi and Joana Correia for the mastering phase, and Benjamin Muzzin for the use of some of his renders through ES Face’s specimen,” Alex adds. “And stay tuned folks, Extraset will launch more typefaces soon.”