Name: Morion
Designer: David Einwaller
Foundry: TDF
Release Date: 2017

Back story: Three years in the making, Morion got its start when the designer began experimenting with calligraphic, serif-ish fonts that also had an edgy digital feel. “When I started to work on Morion, I didn’t have an exact aesthetic goal in mind,” Einwaller says. “I was trying to create something new while combining two diverse elements in type design. The battle between decoration and legibility was the biggest challenge.”

Ever wonder why foundries don’t venture to produce really off-the-beaten track collateral? Apparently, TDF thinks of these things, and as promotion for the typeface, the first 50 customers can enjoy a limited-edition, 12-page tabloid newspaper/type specimen. Or you can get your hands on one of 50 waterproof coats (one size fits most). Why a promo raincoat, and not a backpack, scarf, or cute little tote bag? The good folks at TDF won’t say, but it’s a great idea. (And a pretty nice looking slicker, too.)

Why’s it called Morion? Einwaller’s hometown in Austria boasts the largest deposits of quartz in Europe, including the extra dark, smoky variety known as morion, a rare form that grows close to uranium deposits and is naturally black from proximity to the radiation. It fades to a lighter shade of gray when exposed to sunlight. He says, “The word morion suited the edgy design and also has two O’s—perfect to show off the font’s alternate O’s.”

What are its distinguishing characteristics? The typeface has a slightly Art Nouveau-ish quality thanks to floral terminals that contrast with its wedge-shaped serifs, lending a calligraphic look that still maintains balance and control. OpenType features like an alternative lower case ‘a’ increase legibility in smaller text sizes. Morion is available in two weights and supports Latin-A Extended alternates as well as more than 80 different languages.

What should I use it for? Morion’s ornamental forms function best in decorative display situations (the numerals are especially distinctive, and check out the uppercase O and R!), but the range of alternate characters simplifies it for text uses. It would be ideal for a museum catalog or exhibit about Art Nouveau, considering the influence that this era of design had on the typeface, and would also work well in editorial and advertising uses for cultural magazines and branding.

Who’s it friends with? “Since Morion is pretty decorative already, I’d pair it with some stable, classical sans-serif,” Einwaller says. “Neue Haas Grotesk or Folio are good choices.”