Name: Caserne Brewery typeface
Designers: Montreal-based Caserne created the visual identity that spawned the font, while nearby foundry Coppers and Brasses is behind the typeface itself.
Foundry: Coppers and Brasses
Release Date: November 2019
Backstory: Uniting graphic design, beer and generally having a good time, Canadian studio Caserne created its own Brasserie Caserne Brewing Co. late last year. The typography used in the visual identity was designed by friends of the studio, the foundry Coppers and Brasses, with the idea of developing “a simple graphic asset that would allow us to communicate in a bold and fun way,” says Caserne creative director Léo Breton-Allaire. The type can be seen across all aspects of the branding, including on posters, clothing, bags, coasters, and beer cans.
The studio’s worked with Coppers and Brasses on numerous other projects before, resulting in typefaces that include its own “studio typeface,” Caserne Stencil, as well as the lettering for Chez Tousignant, Club Kombucha, and Colossale production company branding projects. “We also do a lot of minor typographic tweaking on their logos and letterings,” says Étienne Aubert Bonn, a type designer at Coppers and Brasses. “And yes, we used to share a studio for a few years.”
The twist? All is not quite as it seems. This is not your average brewery—in fact, it’s not even a brewery at all. It was all a one-night stunt that Caserne ran in late 2019 to bring together friends and clients, though it did make its own beer supply for the event. It also took the whole fake brewery thing very, very seriously— for the “brewery launch,” the studio created every single branding touchpoint for its limited run of 300 one-party-only beers, and a ludicrous amount of marketing collateral was produced alongside the packaging, including posters, clothing, bags, coasters, and a video that was commissioned from direction studio Parade and producers Content Content. François Ollivier was brought in to photograph the night and the products, making the whole shebang seem entirely genuine. Which it was, in a way. But sadly, this brewery is not for keeps.
Why’s it called Caserne Brewery typeface? Well, it isn’t strictly called anything, really. As the typeface was created as a bespoke brand font for the fictional brewery project alone, it isn’t available for commercial use and isn’t for sale, though that might change in future as it’s proved to be so popular. Otherwise, the name speaks for itself… it’s a typeface for the Caserne Brewery.
What are its defining characteristics? Bonn says the brand font is distinguished by its “steep angle in the application of contrast (following a broad nib contrast model); the pointy, aggressive serif and terminals; and of course the multi-width of the round characters.” Breton-Allaire adds that the typeface has “diabolic terminals” and “drunky alternates” as shown in its C, D, G, O, and Q letterforms.
What should I use it for? Since it isn’t an officially released typeface, sadly we can’t really use it for anything. But if we could, it would make for a standout brand font, with loads of character and a subtle style seen in its gentle serif nuances and sense of dynamism. These qualities make it great as a headline or title display font—so it would work brilliantly for bolder applications like posters—but it’s not so outlandish that it wouldn’t also work for body copy. However, Bonn concedes that “the main challenge with a typeface of this style will be to complete the lowercase and make it work well with the rest of the letters. Many of the defining characteristics of it don’t play too well in lowercase.”
What other fonts should I pair it with? Since the font has so much character as a standalone element, it’s best to use it alongside more neutral, simple fonts—maybe something classic along the lines of Helvetica, or for something more modern like FS Split by Fontsmith, Simula by Justin Sloane, or Empirica from Frere-Jones Type. “Since it’s a pretty loud typeface, I think that something a bit more subtle and neutral would work best,” says Bonn.