Back Story: One of our favorite design studios, APFEL, has just announced the launch of its eponymous type foundry, which is something of a cause for celebration. “Type design has always been at the center of our working methodology as a graphic design studio, so this feels like a natural progression for us,” the studio tells us. “It’s been an ambition of ours for a long time to launch our own foundry; we can trace it back to 2009 when we started work on The Hepworth Wakefield identity, and developed the typeface for that institution as an integral part of the identity we designed for them.”
The studio soon found itself with an extensive and growing library of typefaces created in-house, and as these “reached a point of critical mass… we felt the time was right to create a new, fully resolved and considered venue for this type design work as an integral part of our activities as a studio.”
APFEL Type Foundry has initially launched with four retail typefaces—Certeau, Lining, Remnants, and Periferia—available to license for desktop and web, with further retail typefaces to be released over the coming months. Remnants was a standout for us—the typeface was developed from an example of display type found on an old Serbian book cover, and was expanded “to encompass a full Latin character set which captures a sense of the beauty of the Cyrillic alphabet,” says APFEL. “It was chosen as one of our four launch typefaces for the APFEL Type Foundry because we felt it communicated a distinctive character and, as part of that group, demonstrated the diversity of our approach to type design.”
Why’s it called Remnants? Remnants takes its name from a piece of musical theater produced by London-based arts company Erratica in 2017. APFEL initially designed the cover of the libretto for the theater piece, in which “four singers and a solo dancer lead the audience in an extraordinary auditory experience incorporating physical theater, dance, spoken word, vocal arrangements and electronic soundscapes,” say the designers. As such, Remnants’ initial characters were first developed in 2017, while the work on developing the full character set and the technical work that went into designing the typeface as a whole was completed earlier this year.
What should I use it for? Remnants is an out and out display typeface—so think billboards, posters, and possibly brand applications. APFEL suggests it would be great for “large-scale naming signage on buildings or in contemporary architecture, or even as a magazine masthead,” and add that it would be fascinating to see how it would look carved in stone. (Indeed it would, if there are any stone carvers with idle hands out there reading.)
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Remnants is available in a single weight, and is very distinctly a condensed, upper-case-only display typeface. Its stroke weights and fine serif details are high contrast, making the font pack a real punch. It fares best at larger sizes, which show off its contrasting curves, choppy angles, and elongated monoline serifs. “Maintaining a sense of consistency and legibility throughout the character set, while incorporating a number of key formal and thematic approaches to the design of the letterforms, was a time-consuming but satisfying process,” says APFEL.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? With such a confident, refined but strong personality, APFEL reckons Remnants would pair well with a sans serif typeface at a different scale such as its very own Certeau.