Cako. Courtesy VJ Type.

Name: Cako
Designer: Jérémy Schneider
Foundry: VJ Type (Violaine & Jérémy)
Release Date: September 2019

Back Story: The sure-handed, lighthearted work of Parisian designers Violaine Orsoni and Jérémy Schneider layers minimalist design with classical line illustrations influenced by the great painters Caravaggio and Ingres. The result? A timeless aesthetic with a modern twist. The pair also has a charming tendency to surprise their clients with bespoke typefaces when none were part of the project scope. Orsoni describes the typical reaction as someone falling in love with a present they didn’t know they were about to receive. One such typeface? The brand new Cako.

“It was one of the directions Jérémy created for a brand identity but was never presented to the client,” says Orsoni. “Although we design a great deal of lettering for our projects, we only use around 20% of what’s produced. With Cako, we saw from the first few characters that it could become a full typeface.”

Strong, smooth curves abut severe angles, creating wildly-shaped counters that take on a life of their own.

Why’s it called Cako? “It’s a made-up name. It comes from the first letters Jérémy designed, which matched super well together,” says Orsoni. “And we liked the sound of it.” (Observation: It sounds like cake. And who doesn’t like cake?)

Courtesy Violaine et Jérémy.

What are its distinguishing characteristics? The Art Deco-inspired shapes are both classic and futuristic, and the wide range of glyph alternates allows designers to be as crazy or straightforward as they prefer. Strong, smooth curves abut severe angles, creating wildly-shaped counters that take on a life of their own. Letterforms are interrupted by sudden contrasts of thick and thin strokes in odd places; the legs of the K are hit with a U-shaped void, and the capital L is similarly afflicted by a void, this time shaped like a chisel. In the Thin weight, the strokes are as delicate and sensitive as insect antennae.

Numerals are especially lyrical: choose between full voluptuous counters outlined with springy, animated strokes tapering to fine points (Thin) or solid, almost folkloric shapes with egg-shaped counters (Black).

What should I use it for? Initially, Jérémy envisioned Cako as a titling or logo font, and both the Black and Thin weights are excellent for all display and headlining uses. The regular weight was designed as a text typeface for situations where a little extra style is welcome along with good legibility.

What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Try it with geometric sans serifs like VJ Type’s Kobe and Raisonné from Colophon, or Louize from 205 TF, whose proportions harmonize nicely with Cako’s strong, individualistic shapes.