“Covik Sans Mono”
Most of type design asks the question of how to fit space around a given letterform. Monospaced fonts ask the opposite: how do you fit a letterform within the allotted space? The answer is a word I have gotten familiar with only after starting a family: compromise.
The story begins with Future Fonts, the platform for distributing type in progress that Travis Kochel and Lizy Gershenzon launched in February of 2017.
I was brought on to do a bit of brand work, and to connect my type designer buddies that might be interested in the sort of community we were trying to build.
First, I set out to create the logotype. This is usually my favorite part of any job. I redrew the seventies classic Motter Ombra, but optimized for a range of sizes.
When it came time to think about the accompanying type palette, I thought it made sense to use a monospace. The chaotic rhythm of a mono felt appropriate for the sort of motley crew of rogue type designers we were enlisting.
At the same time, it would be used for the entire UI, so such a drastic move felt heavy handed. After some exploration, we mitigated the differences between the mono and proportionally spaced words with a quantized design of three widths. When we combined this idea with Covik Sans, a happy medium of interesting-but-not-too-interesting was reached.
Quantized designs or systems of limited character widths are nothing new. But it’s relatively new to have the ability to quickly switch between sets of characters to subtlety or fundamentally change the look of text, without switching fonts all together.
With that in mind, Future Fonts user and my good buddy Frank Grießhammer suggested adding OpenType functionality for turning the faux mono into a true mono. It was some amount of work, but worth it in the end.
The resulting family has worked for Future Fonts, and a web index of type foundries. While I love to see these uses, I can imagine Covik Sans Mono working for areas other than type related websites.
I always think it’s lame when type designers tell people where to use a typeface, but this is the gist: Covik Sans Mono is not weird. It’s pretty legible with pretty conventional proportions. Don’t be afraid to use it where a standard grotesque was, or where one would expect to see a geometric sans. Indulge in the adaptable delight of unfamiliarity.