Back Story: The Book of Revelation is the source of some of the most intense imagery in the Bible: the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; 666: the Mark of the Beast; the arrival of the Antichrist; water turning to blood; worldwide doom and destruction as asteroids strike the earth and wars, famines, and epidemics rage, for example. It’s also the inspiration for Apoc, a new font from Adele Type Foundry. “We fell in love with lettering we found in a book about the Revelations of St. John and immediately started sketching from it,” says Matthieu Salvaggio, the font’s designer.
Apoc began as an experimental project, just including the uppercase letters needed to spell apocalypse, but the designers soon felt compelled to keep going and create an entire font. They listened to the album Ofnir, by Danish pagan folk band Heilung, on repeat while they worked, and used its song lyrics to typeset sample texts during the design process. (If you aren’t familiar with Heilung, they describe themselves thusly: “We reach far back in time to the Northern European iron age and Viking period to create a sound experience.” Song themes range from running water via human bones to reconstructed swords and shields, ancient frame drums, and bronze rings.)
While Apoc borrows from much of the terrifying imagery of the Book of Revelation, Salvaggio rightly points out that the book also promises the restoration of order, holiness, and light in the world by the time of its conclusion. The designers addressed this as well. “When used as plain text in smaller sizes, Apoc Light brings the page’s whiteness forward, letting the light come through,” Salvaggio says.
Why’s it called Apoc? “Since the starting point of this type family is a book about the Revelations of St. John, we had to go along with it: Apoc(alypse) a.k.a. Apoc,” says Salvaggio.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Apoc’s thin letterforms utilize aggressively sharp serifs and thorny shoulders inspired by Christ’s crown of thorns. Many of the distinctive letter shapes, such as the lowercase “d” and “b,” draw inspiration from handwriting. According to Salvaggio, “The design has clear historic links to Humanist letter shapes and proportions but adds something new in the counter-form shapes.”
The Light version features angular serifs for stability in the experimental letter shapes, while the Dark is slightly Egyptian in feel, with an extended x-height and squared serifs.
What should I use it for? Apoc is best as a display font for strong headlines on posters, album covers (Heilung, are you listening?), or book and magazine covers. Use the “Dark” and “Light” versions together to bring strong contrast to text layouts.