Name: Giga Medium
Designer: Cihan Tamti
Release Date: Late summer 2019
Back Story: It’s bonkers to think that this young designer is still getting his bachelors, but Cihan Tamti has already created his first full typeface in the shape of this rather lovely, and rather grandiosely titled Giga Medium. The designer is currently an exchange student in Bergen, Norway from his communication design course in Dortmund, western Germany, where he’d already been working as a graphic designer for three years.
Tamti became curious about the idea of creating a typeface after realizing that he was accruing quite a following for his posters and lettering experiments, which he’d been posting on Instagram—his own personal “gym for graphic design,” as he describes it—since December 2018. These projects were initially just something to do as “a break from busy things,” and a way to work on design and research outside the pressures of deadlines and teachers. But his work soon attracted some attention, as well as a fair few freelance client jobs—he was even name-checked as one of Stefan Sagmeister’s top five young designers on the @curatedbyfb account.
Though Giga Medium is Tamti’s only typeface to date (he says he plans to make many more), lettering has long been central to his design practice: “I’ve always been really focused on typography since I started designing,” he says. “It’s really important for me to make fonts personal; so if I’m using ones that already exists, I customize or partially destroy them.”
Why’s it called Giga Medium? Well, this is a big, bold font, and the prefix “giga” denotes a billion. Giga is derived from the Greek word γίγας, meaning “giant.” Tamti says, “the name of the font came from its usage. Its a headline font which really works good when it is HUGE.”
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Billed as an “abstract super modern headline font,” Giga Medium is arresting in its combination of undulating curves, harsh lines (such as on the relatively norm core capital T), and a ton of beguiling nuances: check out the armchair-like steps in the capital S or 2 numeral, for instance. The bowls of the characters are particularly playful, scrapping topographic tradition in favor of more experimental approaches such as in the 9 form. Where things get interesting is in how the designer has chosen to present the letters in many cases, whereby they become their own abstracted symbols through combining forms into a singular bold mark.
Tamti reckons his font has a “very nice ’80s Cyberfunk vibe, but is still clean and readable.” That may well be thanks in part to its inspiration, that old stalwart Futura; his experimentations with the u from Futura Medium became the starting point from which Tamti build the rest of the characters. “It was a funny challenge for me,” he says. “I decided to make a very modern font that is usable for covers, posters, videos, and titles.” Another key inspiration was Benoît Bodhuin’s Pickle-Standard, which we’ve previously described as “characteristically cartoony with a touch of the baroquely ornamental.”
What should I use it for? “It’s made for loud and experimental design,” says Tamti. He designed it with scalability in mind, meaning it can work just as well for small smartphone screens as huge billboards or posters. The font was created with titles in mind, whether those are on the small screen, the silver screen, or editorial design. It’s also been handy for the designer’s branding work, such as in a project for Vans, and has proven ripe for animation—Tamti sent the trial font to a number of designers he knows, some of whom made some pretty ace animations using the forms.
The fact that Giga Medium’s forms work so well as abstracted combinations, or in small lockup pairs, makes it great as an unusual kind of logotype, too.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Tamti suggests combining Giga Medium with other grotesk fonts to offer a sense of contrast, such as Akzidenz-Grotesk, Hanson Bold and Grifter from HMD™ Studio, or the Linear and Radial forms of Norwegian foundry Village’s Gradient font family.