Back Story: Halyard is one of six type families available from Brooklyn-based Darden Studio—whose wunderkind founder, ex-Angeleno Joshua Darden, published his first font at the age of 15. (His legacy fonts are available at PhilsFonts.) Darden takes a refreshingly holistic view towards work—the studio’s website quotes him as saying: “We pursue our work alongside other activities which expose us to more of the world: drawing, painting, metalworking, gardening, stonecutting, music-making, reading, and writing are as important to our office culture as evaluating artwork and writing code.” In that vein, Halyard Display, the typeface family’s charter member, was originally inspired by a road sign in Brooklyn, New York, and the designers also turned to hand-carved lettering on gravestones across the northeastern U.S. for inspiration.
Why’s it called Halyard? “Mainly because the name wasn’t already taken!” says Darden Studio’s design team.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Halyard’s three purpose-built optical sizes each have their own personality while also functioning as a seamless unit. Like Gill Sans—the great-grandfather of humanist sans serif font families unafraid to vary widely in appearance across different weights—Halyard’s sizes all have the same style and mood but unique functionality, because each was individually drawn rather than extrapolated from a master character set. Display is meant for logos, headlines, and slogans meant to be seen at large sizes. Text is optimized for body copy, and extraordinary care was taken with an eye towards language support to ensure that all languages have the same visual density on the page. Micro functions perfectly both at tiny sizes or in situations where a reader is seeing large text that appears small—on a faraway road sign, for instance.
What should I use it for? Halyard’s carefully thought out design strategy ensures excellent legibility and visual allure in any situation that calls for a versatile sans serif typeface. It feels soft, gentle, approachable, and very human while maintaining a strong yet playful personality—a pretty neat balancing act.