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Deliciae Typeface Design
Deliciae Typeface
Deliciae is a sans-serif display font which, through thorough exploration and research into influential historic movements, encompasses elegance, legibility and artistic expression. The font harnesses the expressive and fluid lines of Art Nouveau and incorporates subtle structure of Modern type to evoke functionality and legibility. The consistency of weight and circular formations between the letters creates a harmonious experience for the reader. Thus, Deliciae has successfully been designed with an understanding on both the verbal and visual attributes surrounding the intended typographic message.
Deliciae typeface in Poster form
// research
In order to develop and refine the initial sketched concept, research and analysis was undertaken into the aesthetic impressions and characteristics of pre-existing typefaces. Whilst Art Nouveau was the greatest influence, Deliciae also reflects elements and rules adapted from Black lettering and Modern type. Through this extensive research, we were able to create an innovative and original design concept encompassing elegance, legibility and artistic expression. As stated by Carter and Meggs (2004, 112), “it is important to recognise that historical movements have had a penetrating effect upon typography”.

art nouveau

To develop the curve and organic form of Deliciae, inspiration was sourced from the expressive and ornate Art Nouveau movement. Art Nouveau was an artistic movement predominantly associated with France, which peaked between 1890 and 1905. According to Cybele, the distinct style aimed to bring a connection between art and the natural world, thus re-establishing the unity of diverse art and craft practices and historicism (2000, para. 3). Breaking away from traditional styles relative to the time, typography during this period reflected organic sinuous lines and fluid whiplash (violent) like curves. The practice was expressive and Cybele states that lines were “understood as a metaphor for the freedom and release sought by its practitioners and admirers” (2000, para. 1). Additionally, this style was explored due to the emerging studies and illustrations of deep sea organisms. Within the applied art practices, the Art Nouveau style incorporated ornate and floriated motifs challenging conventional ideas and views. While the typefaces of this time period were successful in establishing a connection between the natural world and art practices and the organic and fluid style of the letters created a desirable display font, however it becomes problematic with regards to legibility in blocks of text.

modern type

Whilst Deliciae reflects the curved form and whiplash lines reflective of the Art Nouveau period, the typeface incorporates contrasting stroke weight and a sense of structure which has been adapted from the Modernist era, more specifically the Bodoni typeface. The Modernist movement replaced the short-lived Art Nouveau and emphasised the functionality and legibility of the letters over the form. This evolution in typographic meaning was significantly influenced by the cultural and technological transitions that emerged during the industrial revolution.

black lettering

To accentuate the fluid lines evident within the Deliciae typeface, inspiration has been drawn from the visual aspects of the Gothic Black Lettering of the Middle Ages. This particular typeface was the culminating artistic expression of the time and encompasses dominant lines contrasted against thin arches and curves; calligraphic in style.
// the design process
To begin the design process we decided to individually experiment and sketch with the Art Nouveau concept in mind. My fellow colleague Michelle and I discovered we both had very different interpretations of Art Nouveau, which we decided to explore through combining both styles.

In order to incorporate both the fluid and structured lines, we decided to extend the curve of the arcs within the modern type and add a ball terminal to enhance the expressive notion.
Initial sketches of concept and the further development of the typeface
As evidenced below, the typeface needed to be refined as there was an inconsistency in the weight of the lines throughout the lowercase alphabet. Additionally, with regards to both the lowercase and uppercase, there were letters which lacked fluidity and others which did not fit the overall style. In response to this feedback, we reworked most of the lowercase letters as well as adjusted features within the uppercase letters and symbols.
Initial alphabet which needed refinement as it lacked consistency and cohesiveness
// font rules
The following font rules were decided:

- Ascender is shorter than the cap height
- The axis of the counters is 0
- The is a ball terminal on each of the letters
- All lowercase bowls sit within the baseline and the x-height
- The lobe of the b, d, p, and q end with a ball terminal and do not connect back to the stem
- The letters do not have serifs
- The bowl and counters are made from the same circular shape
- All the vertical stems have the same width )except the m and n)
- Most letters contain a swash
Breakdown of the font rules
// final designs
Deliciae Typeface Design

Deliciae Typeface Design