Back Story London-based designer Seb McLauchlan began designing Ginto by surveying a variety of 20th century sans-serif typefaces and studying the shift from Modernist ‘pure’ geometry into the slightly more baroque, exuberant style of typefaces created during the photosetting period.
Why’s it called Ginto? “Ginto wasn’t intended to mean anything… it’s a pure fabrication meant to function aesthetically and sonically,” say Dinamo founders Johannes Breyer and Fabian Harb. Since the capital “G” and lowercase “t” turned out to be key glyphs with unique personalities, the designers felt it made sense to include them in the name of the font. To mirror the typeface’s fair amount of attitude, it also felt appropriate to come up with a short, punchy name. The ‘o’ at the end lends a certain sense of familiarity and ease, almost like a nickname for a beloved friend. “Since deciding on the name, we’ve found it translates to ‘gold’ in Tagalog, the main language of the Philippines—a strange and welcome coincidence, as this is my mother’s native tongue,” adds McLauchlan.
Interesting to note is the uncertainty on how to pronounce the name; it’s unclear whether Ginto should be pronounced “Jin-to” or “Ghyn-to” (sort of like the question about using a hard or soft “g” in pronouncing .gif!). The designers see this as a positive feature, and a way to spark conversation about the typeface before anyone has seen a single letter. For the record, around the studio they say “Jin-to.”
What are its distinguishing characteristics? At its core, Ginto is a geometric-humanist typeface with a fundamental tension between circles and rectangles. The contrast between the letterforms’ circular bowls and straight strokes gives the shapes a dynamism and personality with a balanced tone, benefiting legibility at smaller sizes. Ginto Normal’s compact shapes and rational set of weights allow it to work harder across many sizes and environments, resulting in a functional character—while Nord, on the other hand, takes the tone and tenor of Normal and cranks the volume up to 11. “Ginto Nord is a graphic remix of Normal’s DNA, featuring a very large x-height, and more generous character width,” say Breyer and Harb. “It takes a functional core of Light, Regular, and Medium weights and drives the design off the edge of a cliff, stretching from fine hairlines to monolithic ultrabold forms.”
What should I use it for? Ginto’s many weights are drawn to perform in a variety of environments, and are particularly well suited for branding and identity projects.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Like inseparable siblings, Ginto Normal and Ginto Nord work very well with each other.