Back story: Sometimes the perfect name for a band is just, well, really long. Frànçois And The Atlas Mountains asked Landes to design a logo to swap in for their excellent but hard-to-design-with moniker. Inspired by Didone faces already in use for the band’s identity, Landes decided to go further and try his hand at creating a unicase font where upper and lowercase letters could mix freely. With the help of intern Walid Bouchouchi, who provided fresh ideas leading to some of the wilder letter shapes, Solide Mirage was born.
Best of all, Velvetyne is an open-source type foundry (the first in France!), which means you can download and use Solide Mirage and other typefaces at no cost. “This decision was meant to allow the typeface to have its own life while band fans would be able to own the album and the fonts altogether,” says Landes. Domino Records, the label behind the Arctic Monkeys, Blood Orange, and Franz Ferdinand, will provide the font packaged with the album.
Why’s it called Solide Mirage? It’s named after the band’s latest album.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? What’s striking about Solide Mirage is the way its Didone roots are very pronounced, despite the unorthodox proportions acquired during its adaptation to a monospace, unicase font. The unicase constraint makes every letter the same height, whereas the mono constraint means that each character has identical horizontal proportions. These parameters led to some strange and wonderful letterforms: the i with its dot included in the letter height, the m with its touching serifs, and the compressed shapes and long serifs of all lowercase characters featuring ascenders or descenders. A set of ornaments adds even more personality, nicely showcased in the album booklet.
What should I use it for? Solide Mirage is one cool cat. Smart designers will keep its heritage as a custom-designed display typeface for music lyrics in mind, and apply the cool to other sorts of projects such as editorial commissions (both print and screen) or advertising, particularly fashion. The open source license allows unrestricted usage, sharing, and modifying of the letterforms, making Solide Mirage a great option for projects that don’t have much budget for licensing proprietary typefaces.
Who’s it friends with? Landes says, “I find it logical to pair Solide Mirage with a more classic cut of the Didone family, like Production Type’s adaptation, Trianon. For a more contemporary look (and a 100% open source-font reliant layout), I would go with one of Velvetyne’s other typefaces like Sporting Grotesque.”