Back story: The design of Goliagolia began as a kind of game—or rather, as one designer’s obsessive quest to kern the most complicated typographic puzzle he could devise for himself. Designer Alex Valentina wanted each letter of his new font to have a distinct flourish that differed from those of the other letterforms while still uniting the lot as a distinct set of characters.
“I drew the same letter several times with random gestures each time using the brush tool in FontLab, until I got a shape that I liked that could fit with the other glyphs,” says Valentina. “The fact that the letters often have similar but always different serifs is due to the fact that at the base of this font there is no module or grid. Ultimately everything was done by hand following very few rules, and yet the aesthetic is consistent.”
Valentina searched for a rolling, liquid-like form—one that oozed the same rhythm of repeating the word “golia” to yourself over and over again. And while the font might look breezy like liquid smoke, there’s been countless hours of precise tinkering behind its formation. “It’s been a long process of adjusting letter details and kerning, in order to try to give order to the chaos and make everything look organic,” says the designer.
Why’s it called Goliagolia? Well, firstly there’s its slight visual onomatopoeia. Secondly, the G—with its swooping, graceful hood that looks a bit like a lolling tongue—is Valentina’s favorite character. What better way to show it off than to put its capital and lowercase form in one name?
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Particularly when in its 3D rendered chrome effects, Goliagolia looks like a spaceship collided with a baroque cathedral. Its geometric imperfections and curves lend the font a sense of the handwritten, but this homespun quality is juxtaposed by the sharp stem endings, which seem to slice into the letterforms like a knife. The font’s shoulders are heavy and slope inwards, and its bowls sometimes only partially close. When paired with the chrome effect, this rushed quality sits in an interesting tension with the heavy, metallic aesthetic.
Perhaps most distinguishing is the fact that all licenses of the font are given free access to the original PhotoShop files, so that designers can copy the chrome effect shown in The Designers Foundry’s display images.
What should I use it for? When you’re blowing it up big on posters or for editorial spreads, use the free chrome effect for an “Acid Graphics” style—it’ll look particularly neat for music- and fashion- related projects. If you’re brave, and your audience is okay with squinting, Goliagolia looks gorgeously intriguing and ornamental in a smaller size—and it forms a striking black and white pattern on the page.
What should I pair it with? Since it’s a high contrast font, any bold grotesque will emphasize its unusual shapes. If it’s a wide font, even better, because Goliagolia has very large letterforms. Perhaps try Brik, Averta, Sharp Grotesk, or Adieu.