Back Story: Does the world really need any more Grotesque typefaces? Don’t they all speak with pretty much the same authoritative, yet perfectly neutral Swiss voice?
I’ll answer that question with a story. A few years ago, the Met Museum in New York held an exhibit of Japanese arms and armor, which included a room bristling with seemingly identical samurai swords. At first glance, my reaction was something like, “Whoa, overkill. Do I need to look at all of these?” But upon careful observation, I started to see the extraordinary individuality of each blade, the incredible amount of work that generated unique patterns in the steel, like fingerprints or snowflakes. It was a lesson in seeing.
Fonts, in this one specific instance, are a lot like swords: they reward a person’s patience for looking closely at the details, which is very much the case with the new font Forever Grotesk. “We were looking to keep within the narrow definition of the Swiss Style Grotesque, but create something surprisingly different,” says Anton Studer, one of the principals of the Zurich-based type foundry Nouvelle Noire. “The challenge was to find the balance to keep it simple yet maintain a spirit of playfulness within the entire family.”
Why’s it called Forever Grotesk? The designers sought a universal-sounding name with an element of timelessness. They rejected several early options including Neue Neue, Projekt Grotesk, and Grotesk Grotesk. “The hype of Grotesque typefaces seems to last forever,” Studer says. “This brought us to the final decision. It is Foreverything, Foreveryone, Forever Grotesk.” Engagement ring advertisements, meet your match.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Forever Grotesk’s characters incorporate a great deal of nuance: Check out the curve on top of the lowercase t, the funky bubble countershape in the lowercase a, the almost Futura-like lowercase g, the springy tail of the capital Q. “The uppercase R and lowercase a provide the design leads for the entire font,” says Studer. “The R’s leg is bent and looks like it’s walking. The a’s middle stroke joins the stem with a down-angled joint. Many characters follow this rolling feeling. The comma, the apostrophe and the guillemets (« », used in French and German) feature a reversed curve. The ascender of the t keeps this same linear flow, and the same spirit carries over into the numerals, particularly 1, 4, and 7.”
What should I use it for? “For everything that makes the world a better place,” Studer says. “It has the same advantages as other Swiss Style Grotesque typefaces: it works perfectly at body text size and it shows off its personality when used big.” Its seven weights and two styles provide plenty of contrast should you decide to use it for headlines as well as text.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Forever Grotesk’s neutrality allows it to partner well with just about any other typeface on the planet—with a sly and subtle wink challenging a viewer to notice the little differences that make this Grotesque a welcome addition to font menus.