Back Story: Gastón Fuoco designed Hejira specifically to defy expectations of what a type family should look like, and how uniform it should feel. Gazing at all the different versions of Hejira together, the similarities become obvious. When viewed separately, only the most astute viewer would be able to immediately make the connection between the beefy fat face, the thorny and dangerous-looking single stroke, and the multiple-stroke version, which looks formed from swipes of a bear claw. Typeface detectives would need to be called in to link the quiet sans serif (which looks like a kid who’s fallen in with the wrong crowd) to the rest of this gang. Nevertheless, all four styles feel part of the same system and can be used alongside each other seamlessly.
Why’s it called Hejira? “Hejira means ‘rupture’ [in Arabic] and I thought this concept really suited the spirit of the typeface,” says Fuoco, who is a Buenos Aires-based UX and web designer as well as a type designer. “It’s also the title of a Joni Mitchell album, which lifts my spirit on Sunday mornings; its exotic, mysterious-sounding name always caught my attention.” The word, which is more commonly spelled as Hegira or Hijra, usually refers to the migration of the Islamic prophet Muhammad (and his companions) from Mecca to Medina in 622. Mitchell has said that when she chose the album title, she was looking for a word that meant “running away with honor,” as she wrote the songs during a turbulent time in 1975 and ’76 when she had a fling with playwright and actor Sam Shepard, broke up with her boyfriend, abandoned a tour midway through, began abusing cocaine, and set off on a cross-country road trip across America with her Australian former lover and another male friend.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Each style has its own distinct features. First off, there’s a skeletal alphabet with serifs that feature wedge-shaped strokes. A more experimental version is based on the same framework but with the strokes multiplied and overlaid for an otherworldly, trippy effect. Then there’s a genteel sans serif style whose mild shapes seem to be generated by a calligraphic pen, and finally a quirky fat face combining round curves with pointy elements.
What should I use it for? The complete Hejira set covers all bases, so designers can use it for a varied range of purposes. Some of its features are best visualized when set at larger sizes in branding, posters, and signage.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Hejira works well matched up with neutral designs such as Grafik or Mallory. Some other typefaces in the Sudtipos catalog lend themselves well as companions, too, including Ansage and Address Sans.