Studio Ostendo operates in multiple creative fields including photography, design, and education.
What happens when we combine blackletter forms with grotesque forms? Why haven’t they been combined, or propagated? Culturally? Formally?
Blackletter as a typographic style has largely been left dormant since the Medieval era. With its rich history—appearing in the first written manuscripts of the Bible—and inconspicuous cultural connotations—it adorns many “official documents” ranging from The Declaration of Independence to college degrees—it’s confounding that no designer has taken on the challenge of bringing its visual style to the contemporary era. It’s a shame, really, of the typographic discipline. In this project for the Trinity Christian College Summer Research Grant, I outlined the historical track of blackletter typefaces, its cultural connotations both past, present, and potential, and the wave of type design that swept up every other typographic category except blackletter.
What has arisen out of this study, though small in scale, is a whole new world of letterforms. This typeface is far from finished—there are more good ideas left on the cutting room floor than would be feasible to include in this report. The typeface that has arisen is in its infancy and will surely develop as I continue this research. But the most important thing to come from this research is the proof that there is room yet in type design to think of letterforms in new ways. This method of innovating on traditional letterforms has given rise to what I would contest are truly new forms—not just personal takes on what a font should feel like. For that, I’m overjoyed to present this typeface and its potential to carve out its own niche in graphic design.