Tuesday, 01 April 2014 00:00

Hummingbird: April 2014 Fav Font

A unique feature of Hummingbird is its impressive number of these subtle variations, known as contextual alternates. If you're not a typographer, or familiar with the term, consider this: Type a letter, and its appearance will vary depending on its placement and adjacent letters.

Will it end the sentence and require a finishing out-stroke, a little flourish that says, "This word has played its part."? Will it be a "b" sandwiched between a "g" and an "i"? The contextual alternate avoids the rote rigidity of digital production and, instead, turns to the human hand and habit for its answer. A long upsweep from the base of the "g" transform into the curving ascender of the "b," and then a tender little curve connects the end of the "b" to the beginning of the following "i." Some letters have different beginning forms, all have different ending forms, and with double letter occurrences, one of the letters will use the alternate. Some letters are semi-connected. The alternates bring a flowing randomness to the typeface, tempered by their reference to a more natural handwritten appearance, rather than acting as a sort of decorative embellishment. Hummingbird has 214 contextual alternates.


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