Name: Super Tramp
Designer: Vivian Dehning
Release Date: December 2021
Back Story: Dehning sees type design as a way to express human diversity and personality. For Super Tramp, she envisioned a typeface with a variety of forms based on a classical framework. The designer says, “When I look at a letter, I picture actual characteristics I see in humans. Every character has a right to exist and be given space as well as acceptance. And because letters build words, words build language, and language builds realities, values like respect and empathy should be carried in communication. Not just through words, but also through appearance and actions.”
Why’s it called Super Tramp? It has nothing to do with the 1970’s band that my college roommate played on repeat till I legitimately would go out and walk around at night in the snow, in case you were wondering. Dehning says, “I deliberately put together a laudatory adjective and a noun that carries certain biases. ‘Tramp’ is often used to mean ‘bitch’ or ‘slut,’ and I wanted to re-appropriate the word to empower women. ‘Super’ adds celebration and the extra meaning of something or someone who doesn’t stay in one place for long and has to adapt to new situations every now and then.”
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Dehning wanted Super Tramp to demand and claim space, so she gave it wide, expansive letterforms, drawing dozens of iterations by hand on paper before refining them digitally.
Super Tramp’s round/smooth vs. sharp/angular shapes complement and support each other, resulting in a set of confident characters that come together as a joyful group. It has plenty of oddly delightful details, not only in its multitude of swashes but in moments like the capital S’s single serif terminal as well as the gently-curved blobby flourishes and terminals on many lowercase letters that lend a jaunty lilt to passages of text. Current language support includes basic Latin; Western, Central, and Southeastern European; South American; Oceanian; Sami, and Esperanto.
What should I use it for? The designer hopes to see Super Tramp used for projects, especially editorial publishing, that can have a positive impact on the social and environmental challenges we face in the years to come.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Try it with a modern grotesque that has a similar x-height and width such as Nouvelle Grotesk, or a bold and compact all-caps editorial typeface, such as Outward.
Bonus Round: Students as well as projects on social, animal, and climate justice get 80% off the licensing fee. Please send a brief description of your project to the designer at firstname.lastname@example.org.