Zoom Pro (Grotesque)

Name: Zoom Pro

Designer: Florian Paizs

Foundry: The Designers Foundry

Release Date: October 2019

Back Story: It’s pretty much universally acknowledged that type design is a profession beholden to perfectionists. One such perfectionist is Florian Paizs of New York-based The Designers Foundry.  Paizs has been adding widths to his type family Zoom for more than three years now, and this Fall marks the release of his latest, expanded version of the typeface, which includes 36 styles in six weights and six widths (an upgrade from the 12 styles launched in 2017). “There was no set plan in the beginning,” says Paizs, “just a vision that evolved very slowly over time with tons of experimenting and discarded ideas.”

But this, it seems, is just the beginning: when Paizs delivered the final files of Zoom Pro to TDF a few a months ago, he subtly mentioned in an email that eventually Zoom will have more 150 styles: “Just give me a few more years,” he wrote.

Why’s it called Zoom Pro? According to the designer, “Zoom” was simply a random working title that gestures to the transition between differing widths and weights, which felt “like zooming in on a camera.” Reading between the lines though, we see an additional meaning in the name. To “zoom” means to rise rapidly or proceed quickly like a rocket: just like this typeface, which continually grows, balloons, and builds with its new weights and widths.

What are its distinguishing characteristics? Zoom offers a range of stylistics alternatives which change the appearance of the typeface dramatically with one click—it can be chunky, sleek, nimble—and designers can choose between flat tops or Futura-like points for the spikes of letters like A, N, M, V, W, which dramatically shift the tone and energy of the font. Zoom’s Y is particularly delightful: it looks a little like a squat umbrella that’s had its handle broken off.

The friendly nature of Zoom Pro comes from its exaggerated curvy shapes and the round punctuation marks. But it can also be brutal thanks to its sharp edges and rough strokes that aren’t optically corrected.

Zoom Pro, The Designers Foundry

What should I use it for? It has a strong, energetic personality that feels especially potent in large sizes, so using Zoom Pro on posters, billboards, or branding projects probably makes the most sense. It’s a fast font for fast times, so we can also see it on bicycle frames, car hoods, tram doors, and other whirring mechanical objects.

What typefaces should I pair it with? Well, probably itself, given that there are 36 eclectic styles… But if you’re looking to mix and match outside of the family, you could pair the thinner strokes with a classic Didone, or potentially even a typewriter font. Recently, TDF has mixed it with its other new release, Fragen. Generally, you’ll probably want to create a sense of contrast when you’re using Zoom Pro—so pairing it with a geometrical or constructed font, or even a script, could look good, too.