2008–ongoing

By display we mean the category of type devised for highlighting particular words and letters rather than for continuous reading. For each issue of AA Files we have developed and comissioned bespoke display type.

The original thesis is outlined here: ‘Our plan for this and future issues of AA Files is to explore and develop the English vernacular in display types with Paul Barnes (co-designer of the new Guardian newspaper Egyptian body face). This is not an attempt to produce a pastiche historical type family but rather to continue to explore the once vital variations on the theme of the English vernacular and see what new ideas this stimulates. We have begun quietly, with a version of Caslon foundry sans and Italian. The much-abused, so-called “Italian” semi ornamental type shown on these pages, “an Egyptian with horizontal stress and extra serifs reversed and joined to the letter by a point; a crude expression of an idea of perversity” according to Nicolete Gray in Nineteenth-Century Ornamented Typefaces, 1938. Unashamedly we have added a shadow, lending three-dimensional form to perversity.’ (John Morgan, A Note on the Type, AA Files 57, 2008). Read the full text here.

The original remit broadened as the journal developed. In addition to working with Paul Barnes, we now also design types in-house, drawn by Adrien Vasquez from the studio.