Release Date: Summer/Fall 2019
Back Story: We’re longtime fans of Hamburg-based studio TwoPoints.Net. In fact, at the beginning of this year we used its typographic homage to the 2018 Winter Olympics as one of the exemplary projects that predicted the design trends for 2019. That project was created for ESPN’s The Magazine, for which the studio has created fonts to use in the NFL and NBA issues. As co-founder Martin Lorenz explained to us last year, the designers make test layouts for each issue. “You need to know how the font is going to be applied when you design a font,” he says.
“Next is what happens when the hype is real.”
That was exactly how the studio came about creating Next, a duo of two monospaced fonts with two different widths. “It gives the design team at ESPN more flexibility to play with the typography,” says Lorenz. The font was completed in April, and the magazine featuring the typeface was published this summer.
Why’s it called Next? Every year since 1998, ESPN The Magazine has recognized a group of emerging athletes to watch out for in the year ahead. They call the group “Next.” According to Lorenz, these athletes “are competitors not only on the cusp of stardom, but on the verge of transcending their sports…Next is what happens when the hype is real.”
The aesthetics of the font were initially inspired by the ESPN logo, but during the design process, the studio had a revelation: “We recognized that the X could be made of two very abstract arrows, which could be used to represent the concept of Next,” Lorenz says.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Its stencil-like but thoroughly modern look makes Next stand out—not to mention the fact that it takes two forms. “As one letter of the extended version of the monospaced font has exactly the same width as two letters of the regular font, plus the space in between the letters, the letters are always aligned horizontally and vertically,” says Lorenz.
What should I pair it with? As an ESPN proprietary typeface, it looks like Next will have to stick with the rest of its stablemates. “ESPN has its corporate typefaces, which are Geogrotesque, Miller, Tungsten, and United, but I could imagine that a nice font with serifs could work very well as a pair, too,” says Lorenz.
What should I use it for? Sadly, most of us can’t use it at all. The typeface was created solely for ESPN and isn’t available commercially. However, if it were, Next works beautifully as a display font, as well as for editorial projects (per its initial commission).