Kate Vasey Article By Kate

The Northern Block’s 2019 In Review

News

As 2019 draws to a close, we reflect on another successful year for The Northern Block. Our font collection has grown with the addition of eleven type families, including a second collaboration with type designer, Ksenia Belobrova. We have two new products on Adobe Fonts, our first type family on Google Fonts, we’ve been successful in international design competitions, and had a number of typefaces featured in various publications. 

BUSINESS

The company has strengthened significantly in 2019; we continue our ongoing partnership with Adobe Fonts and the inclusion of two new type families to our Adobe font library, Moret and Tomarik. We have worked with Google Fonts to release our debut type family, Solway, which has received a remarkable number of downloads since its release in November. We are officially working with a new distributor, ParaType, to showcase our Cyrillic typefaces to a broader market, and we consistently attract large custom typeface inquiries from around the globe.

COLLABORATIONS

We frequently collaborate with designers and creatives from all over the world and are always on the lookout to welcome more talented individuals. This year we have collaborated a second time with type designer and lettering artist, Ksenia Belobrova on Frederik Type Family. Additionally, we have welcomed a new collaborator to the studio, freelance journalist, Sarah Burgess. Sarah worked closely with the team to produce written content for the company’s case studies and blog, where she wrote the article, “Always Remember to Syke Yourself Up.” For 2020, we have a new collaboration lined up, with the introduction of Joe Elwell and his latest typeface, which we are looking forward to releasing next year.

OUR 2019 TYPEFACES 

At the beginning of 2019, we released Moret, a serif display type family, which has had continuous success throughout the year within printed publications, international competitions, and featured in a diverse range of creative projects, including Lourie, a Berlin sleepwear brand by design agency, Helder. Our second release of the year, sans-serif superfamily Mynor, paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing through its design marketing campaign.

Following a visit to the studio, collaborator Ksenia Belobrova released Frederik, a humanist sans serif type family. The research for this marketing campaign focused on old transport wayfinding, traditional vehicle sign painting, and street signage. We then showcased serif type family, Scharf to the global market, and closing out spring; we launched Ruddy, an energetic display sans serif.

In Summer, we introduced an additional type family to our worldwide retailers, Syke. With the middle of August showcasing Luke, both our first variable type family and the first contemporary blackletter added to our font collection.

Autumn featured the release of Jaqen, a contemporary serif with its namesake taken from the fictional Game Of Thrones character, Jaqen H’ghar. It was followed by geometric and neo-grotesque sans serif, Hegval Display, and the industrial sans serif Roag. The latter paying homage to mechanical designs of the 1930s, with the graphic design inspired by Formula 1 racing. 

We have finished off the year strongly with our debut type family for Google Fonts, Solway. It has been an incredible opportunity to work with Google Fonts to create a product for their web directory, as well as a massive milestone for us as a company by offering further exposure of our work to a broader audience.

PUBLICATIONS AND COMPETITIONS

Throughout the year, our work has featured in a variety of publications. Beginning with Hefring Slab, Nuber Next, Moret and Mynor Type Families, featuring in Indie Type: Typefaces and Creative Font Application in Design, a book produced by Sandu Publishing. The book, described by the publisher, ‘is a series of typefaces selected by their innovative, aesthetic, or adaptable approach, including representation of their use in different international projects’.

In the summer, our good friends at the micro-architectural company, 3rdSpace, interviewed our Creative Director, Jonathan Hill. The founder of 3rdSpace, Ben Couture, discussed with Jonathan the key moments that shaped The Northern Block and the future of type design, which you can read here. Alongside the interview, a printed booklet was produced showcasing ‘a unique collection of stories from 3rdSpace owners’.

Towards the end of the year, Hefring Slab, Loew Next Arabic, Luke, and Moret featured in Edition 4 of Slanted’s Yearbook of Type 2019/20, which presents a selection of new typefaces from creatives worldwide. Luke Type Family was showcased both within the book and displayed predominantly on the cover and spine. 

In addition to our publication features, we are pleased to announce Moret Type Family made the winners list for the international design competition, Hiiibrand’s Hiii Typography Awards.

WORKSHOPS AND CONFERENCES

Throughout the year, the team has taken part in internal and external workshops, where we continue to network and grow a rapport with other creatives in the industry. One of which saw the team visit Zagreb, Croatia, for a two-day intensive business development workshop. We have also attended several type and graphic design conferences, both locally and worldwide.  

NEXT YEAR

There are many exciting projects already underway for us to present in 2020, alongside more collaborations, and with the introduction of new type families and updates of old favourites. 

We take this opportunity to thank our clients, customers, collaborators, and retailers for your support throughout the year, and we hope to continue our ongoing relationships as we move into the new decade. Happy 2020!

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