Grimer by Brandon Nickerson Studio

Name: BN Grimer
Designer: Brandon Nickerson
Foundry: Brandon Nickerson Studio
Release Date:
June 22, 2021

Back Story
“A font’s main purpose is to proclaim, and that is exactly what she was designed for,” says Brandon Nickerson of his new  BN Grimer,a bold, sans serif that seamlessly mirrors the minimalism trend. Before designing Grimer, Nickerson found himself sifting through archive.org where he stumbled upon an antique type specimen book of sketches from the 1900s. While flipping through the sketches, he discovered a geometric sans serif designed on a grid; and while interested in the type, he’d seen it before. “It almost felt like this rigid framework responsible for the initial appeal was also holding these characters back,” he says. He wanted to maintain a grid framework, but bring it into the 21st century. And he did—with over 180 glyphs. 

Grimer’s stable but contemporary look was born out of New York City, where Nickerson’s side hustle has evolved over time into a strong rolodex. Grimer is one of his latest fonts, marrying the dependability of geometry with a flexible, minimalist nature. “The appeal of Grimer is like what’s happening today,” Nickerson says. “We’re questioning some of the outdated guidelines or frameworks in place that haven’t adapted with the times.” He views Grimer as a font that balances rigidity and evolution—a font of an open-minded generation that questions tradition.

Black type specimen on pink background
Grimer in action.

Why is it called Grimer?

Unlike the font itself, Nickerson’s approach to naming is less-than-structured. Right before launching, he went with the first thing that came to mind. “I’ve done this before with previous typefaces,” he explains, “and find it works better sometimes versus spending hours debating the ‘perfect’ name.” He suspects subconsciously there was inspiration behind the industrial aesthetic of Grimer. Each letter has a sound construction—a solid “primer”— that still allows for a bit of nerve, or “grime.” Combine these two landscape concepts and you get Grimer, the epitome of friction.

What are its distinguishing characters?

Grimer’s geometric form is conducive to more repetition than your standard sans serif (here, Nickerson highlights the particular display of  B, P, R, S, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9). But he also appreciates its “surprisingly pleasant contrast in certain characters from bold to thin,” pointing to the font’s G, Q, Z and 5. Yet again, Grimer is a font full of contradictions. 

What should I use it for?

Since Grimer is exclusively uppercase and numerals, it serves as a display typeface (think logos, headlines, bold packaging). “I could see Grimer in a progressive, modern culture-focused magazine or editorial platform like Elephant, Brownbook, or Huck, especially if it’s designed on black paper, which allows its bold form to shine,” he says. On Nickerson’s website, he features the font rendered in inverse hues of black and bubblegum pink, to highlight the font’s bold aesthetic. There’s a new-age, punk rock feel to Grimer that says it’s not afraid to be affixed to your hole in the wall bar bathroom, but its sophistication can bring a certain personality to any brand endeavor. For Nickerson, these two opposing colors mimic Grimer’s juxtaposing characteristics. “Pink and black are colors that you typically wouldn’t use together—pink is generally viewed as a soft, feminine color while black is generally viewed as a rigid, dark and mysterious color,” he says. “But when combined, they actually create this unexpected and beautiful chemistry.” 

What other typefaces do you like to pair it with?

Grimer is reliable and to-the-point in its execution. Nickerson suggests pairing it with a more artful script, like Kitsune by Andrei Robu. Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention other typefaces brought to you by Nickerson’s studio— like Monoscript, Bergen, Grainville and Rendall; after all, sometimes it’s best to keep it in the family.