Designer: Thomas Huot-Marchand
Release Date: February 2020
Back Story: Thomas Huot-Marchand first started drawing Garaje 20 years ago on his family’s shared computer at the start of his graphic design studies. At the time, by his own admission, he “knew very little about type design.” He was, however, fascinated by the Bauhaus school, and “wanted to rediscover its somewhat brutal radicality, and play with these paradoxical forms.”
This influence was later accompanied by another, more unexpected fascination: Spanish garages. The two universes “shared a desire to reduce typographic forms to simple geometric elements,” as the foundry 205FT puts it. It adds that while the Bauhaus’s approach to simplicity was “ideological: it translates a rejection of the tradition, and the affirmation of an objective and rational vocabulary,” for garage owners, it’s “simply logical.”
The designs of Garaje’s letterforms also aim to highlight the fact that geometrically perfect shapes actually look imperfect to the human eye; in fact, the vast majority of type designs use numerous corrections to make them seem optically accurate. “Garaje plays precisely with this paradox: its construction is strictly geometric, without any optical correction,” says 205FT. “It is a perfectly objective system, but also a typographical aberration, both right and wrong.”
Why’s it called Garaje? Designer Thomas Huot-Marchand was in Madrid, Spain, where he was struck by the vernacular, simplified typography of Spanish car garages. He was so inspired by the forms that they proved to be a directed influence on his work, and specifically, this new font release. Hence, Garaje is a Spanish term which means “garage.”
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Garaje is a strictly geometric variable typeface that was built on an evolving modular grid in just “a few hours,” according to Huot-Marchand. It uses “a minimum of elementary forms (horizontal, vertical, oblique, arcs of a circle), no contrast between solid and hairline, and a minimum grid to position modules,” 205FT explains. Huot-Marchand aimed to thoroughly exhaust the possibilities of the grid, thus extending “this family in all directions, to the absurd: extremely narrow or disproportionately wide shapes, all constructed from the same modules,” the designer explains. “After playing for 20 years with this system, in my own graphic work, the time has come to publish this large family.”
Garaje is available in a whopping 44 widths, five weights, 445 fonts, “hundreds of thousands of glyphs, and no contrast.” It’s distinct in its capacity to combine almost endless different widths and weights, meaning designers can create typographic designs with it in any number of large sizes without ever varying the line thickness. Huot-Marchand describes it as a typeface that’s “both brutal and fun, rational and naive.”
What should I use it for? Thanks to its vast range of exaggerated widths and weights, Garaje is primarily a display typeface. However, it has been successfully used as a body text, such as in the book Ed Fella, Documents, designed by Jérôme Saint-Loubert Bié.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? The foundry recommends pairing Garaje with another font by Huot-Marchand, Minuscule, which was designed so that it can be read in very small sizes—from 2pt to 6pt. “By combining these two typefaces, we cover the two extremes of the same spectrum: the disproportionate dimensions of the Garaje and the infinitely small of the Minuscule,” says 205FT.