Courtesy TDF.

Name: Brik
Designer: BurnType (Michael Bagnardi)
Foundry: The Designers Foundry
Release Date: November 2018

Back Story: Brik was inspired by the letters shouting out “New York City” on the T-shirt John Lennon wore in Bob Gruen’s iconic 1974 photo. “Basic utilitarian fonts like that have experienced very little evolution over the many years they’ve existed,” says the typeface’s designer, Michael Bagnardi. He points to the ACME Packers (now the Green Bay Packers) jerseys from the 1920s as an example. “Typefaces like this are a dime a dozen on free font websites, and have clearly stalled in terms of innovation,” he says. “I saw an opportunity to craft something that could breathe some fresh air into the space.”

The end goal was to create a functional typeface that didn’t sacrifice feeling for utility, and that could maintain its own forceful personality. In chatting with colleagues while Brik was still just a gleam in his eye, Bagnardi took their enthusiasm for the project as proof he was on to something, and moved at a full gallop to completion.

John Lennon 1974 © Bob Gruen (left); Acme Packers 1921 courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries.

Why’s it called Brik? The typeface got its name from its hard-edged letterforms. “They look as though they could smash a window,” says the designer. “Each letter feels like it’s made from fired clay. Set a passage with some tight leading, and each word becomes a brick in a wall of text.”

What are its distinguishing characteristics? Brik has a surprising amount of character despite its relatively simple solidity. This coarse, honest family boasts an extremely rigid construction with hard angles and exaggerated ink traps for maximum weight and impact. Rounded corners contrast sharply with small angled interior counters that feel embedded in the hefty letterforms’ shapes. The strokes curving into the ink traps add a welcome bit of grace to the muscular, squared-off characters.

What should I use it for? Take it from the source: “Brik was built for shouty headlines and reduces well into lengthier sub-heads or callouts,” Bagnardi says. “Its large traps make it surprisingly legible as small copy. With that said, I wouldn’t recommend setting a book in it.”

What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Since it’s blocky and heavily stylized, try a neutral sans typeface to play up the contrast. Something like Segma would work, or for those who are feeling especially daring, a serif like Morion. Both are available from TDF.