Typefesse

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Warning: this review will be full of juvenile humor and cheeky puns. Being holed up with my school-aged kids for the past nine months of 2020 has wreaked havoc on my personal giggle threshold, so please, ahem, bare with me.

Typefesse[1] is a “playful butt-shaped typeface”. Need I say more? Maybe I should just pause here and let Reddit’s peanut gallery[2] take the wheel for a moment? When Typefesse was proposed as a header for Alphabettes.org, the jokes started flying: Could we rename the blog Alphabutts for a few weeks? My dream came true[3] and the header reveals one of the most brilliant “TT” ligatures in the history of Latin typography — no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Designed by Océane Juvin, Typefesse gives a whole new meaning to type anatomy. Defying logic or reason, each letter manages to squeeze in a contorted foot, leg, and buttock or two while maintaining a surprising level of readability. As if it weren’t enough to have one set of letterforms in the buff, Typefesse includes three styles, appropriately inspired by “the moon and its mysteries’”: Claire (Light), Pleine (Full), and Obscure (Dark).

This isn’t the first time a typeface has been inspired by naked bodies, but Typefesse manages to avoid any of the occasional cringe or cliché that chafes the anthropomorphic letterform genre[4]. Backsides aside, Typefesse’s geometric construction feels inspired by sixties-era Baby Teeth[5], as well as earlier art deco typefaces like A.M. Cassandre’s Bifur[6] (1929) or Jos Dufour and Joan Collette’s Indépendant[7] (1930). However, Typefesse stands on its own two cheeks, showcasing the derriere as a durable design constraint.

Where might we find Typefesse flaunting its stuff? Beyond a French film magazine[8], the possibilities are bottomless. The Typefesse Instagram account[9] hints at the possibility of an Arabic version in the future. Typefesse is available via Velvetyne, a libre and open-source foundry, so there’s really no excuse not to welcome more fesses into your typefaces. Given the year the world has endured, we all deserve more moments of collective levity, more silly quips, and more type that kicks some ass.

Amy Papaelias[10] is a design educator and type nerd living in New York’s Hudson Valley. She has written most recently for Adobe Create, Visions magazine, and co-edited an issue of Visible Language. She helps keep the lights on at Alphabettes.org[11].

References

  1. ^ Typefesse (velvetyne.fr)
  2. ^ peanut gallery (www.reddit.com)
  3. ^ dream came true (www.alphabettes.org)
  4. ^ anthropomorphic letterform genre (letterformarchive.org)
  5. ^ Baby Teeth (fontsinuse.com)
  6. ^ Bifur (fontsinuse.com)
  7. ^ Indépendant (fontsinuse.com)
  8. ^ a French film magazine (fontsinuse.com)
  9. ^ Typefesse Instagram account (www.instagram.com)
  10. ^ Amy Papaelias (www.amypapaelias.com)
  11. ^ Alphabettes.org (www.alphabettes.org)
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