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Bold Monday starts the week at Type Network

Paul van der Laan and Pieter van Rosmalen established their well-regarded independent foundry in 2008. After a successful decade in business, they’ve decided to broaden their reach by joining a constellation of kindred indies at Type Network.

Bold Monday’s two principals met at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague. Paul van der Laan attended the academy in the early nineties and was bitten by the typography bug during the half-day-a-week sessions focusing on type. After a two-year stint as a web designer at an agency, he gave in to his passion and went back to school, enrolling in the postgraduate course in type design (Type and Media’s precursor). Van der Laan was eventually invited to take up a teaching position at his alma mater. Over the years, countless TYPO Berlin attendees enjoyed his deadpan humor at the joint TypeCooker critique sessions he led with Erik van Blokland.

Nitti specimen and Nitti and Nitti Grotesk combined in a simulation of a math syllabus
Combining the monospaced Nitti with the proportional Nitti Grotesk offers many possibilities for typesetting publications that marry running text with tabular matter, like annual reports.

Pieter van Rosmalen studied design and advertising at Sint Lucas in Boxtel from 1989 to 1993. After that, he spent eight years toiling for various design and advertising firms, where he developed a passion for type and typography. He started designing his own typefaces and entered the postgraduate course in type design at KABK in 2001, where Van der Laan was one of his teachers. After Van Rosmalen graduated, the two kept in touch; each started his own foundry, occasionally collaborating on the other’s projects. All of this changed in 2008, when the pair was commissioned to develop a new custom typeface for Audi. Bold Monday was born. The independent foundry has earned a strong reputation for developing custom type projects and publishing thoughtful and inventive retail typefaces. They’ve also started fleshing out their library with remarkable work from outside designers.

Text sample set in Nitti
Nitti’s monospaced forms are harmonious, warm, and pleasant to read.

Bold Monday’s initial release on Type Network consists of five typefaces: Pilot, Logical, and the trio of Italo-American grotesques comprising Nitti, Nitti Grotesk, and Nitti Typewriter.

Even though it borrows its name from a hardened mobster—Francesco Raffaele Nitto (a.k.a. Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti), one of Al Capone’s top henchmen—Nitti is honest and trustworthy, a stand-up font family you can rely on for all of your text needs. It was recognized as such by acclaimed design studio Information Architects (iA), which brought Nitti worldwide recognition as the (literal) face of its popular writing app iA Writer. Nitti’s design sits at the intersection of history and the present. Its design is inspired by the grotesques, the earliest sans-serif designs from the nineteenth century. Van Rosmalen used these influences to imbue the contemporary, efficient, monospaced typeface with an agreeable warmth and humanity. With an expansive character set that includes Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Hebrew, Nitti is a perfect choice when you want your text to look professional and approachable—businesslike but not standoffish.

Alternate ‘a’ and ‘g’ in Nitti Grotesk
An alternate a and g give Nitti Grotesk a more casual vibe.

Nitti is part of a larger suite of Grotesque-inspired typefaces. At iA’s request, Van Rosmalen embarked on a mission to create a proportional sibling for Nitti. Never content with half measures, he cycled through three attempts before he was satisfied with the result. His final breakthrough came when he made any character that deviated too much from the norm more “grotesque.” So how do Nitti and Nitti Grotesk compare? Whereas all of Nitti’s characters occupy spaces of identical widths, thus lending the face a typewriter-like look, Nitti Grotesk’s characters fit in spaces that correspond to their design: for example, the w is much wider than the i. This pulls the typeface out of the office and gently pushes the cordial sans serif toward a more general publishing and editorial environment.

Nitti Typewriter specimen
Nitti Typewriter’s finely textured contours wink at the grunge wave of the nineties.

If Nitti Grotesk distances itself from any typewriter connotations, the aptly named Nitti Typewriter does the exact opposite. Taking its cue from the creative explosion of the nineties, its characters are slightly weathered to render them more concrete and organic. The grunge styling is so subtle that it adds life to, rather than distracts from, the letters. You can almost hear echoes of clicking typewriter keys and sense ink on bond paper when you read—or set—Nitti Typewriter.

Pilot specimen
Aleksandra Samuļenkova’s Pilot captures the spirit of sign lettering with condensed character shapes, angular details, and underlined small caps.

The dynamic Pilot evolved from Latvia-born Aleksandra Samuļenkova’s graduation project at Type and Media. The striking design lies somewhere between a casual sans serif and an upright script. With very narrow, chiseled features and a handmade appearance, this informal jobbing face can be used for setting short bursts of copy and adds pizzazz to posters, book covers, packaging, and a wealth of other display applications. Contextual alternates for j, t, and f facilitate an even tighter fit for specific letter combinations. The extended character set includes two types of small caps: the first sits on the baseline; the second features raised and underlined variants reminiscent of sign painting. Right out of the gate, Pilot won first prize in the Titling Face category at the Fine Press Book Association’s inaugural Student Type Design Competition in 2013. Four years later, the family was awarded a Certificate of Typographic Excellence from the Type Directors Club.

Logical specimen
From Thin to Black, Logical maintains clarity and readability, crucial qualities for a type family intended for screen-based applications and wayfinding. A large suite of pictograms and icons help convey meaning concisely.

As its name implies, Logical is a rational and deliberately constructed sans-serif family in eight weights with matching italics. Swiss designer Edgar Walthert introduced circular patterns in letterforms that are oval and compact, most noticeable in the delightfully disjointed lowercase g. (The typeface also features a more conventional alternate version.) Delicately tapered terminals and open apertures give Logical a friendly air. To improve rendering on standard resolution displays, Walthert initially drew the letters on a thirteen-pixel grid, even adding underlined versions of the glyphs for URLs and emphasis in interactive environments to the extended character set. A large complement of pictograms and icons can be accessed via OpenType features: activating Stylistic Sets 1 to 4 (respectively for English, German, Dutch, and French) automatically converts keywords typed between two colons. Combining a faintly technical letterform architecture with humanist touches, Logical is an ideal choice for screen-based applications like websites, apps, and user interfaces, as well as applications where quick and efficient readability is key, like environmental graphics and signage.

Diacritics in Pilot
Samuļenkova is a vocal advocate for the correct design and implementation of diacritics—ubiquitous in her native Latvian. Pilot’s Latin Extended character set shows how to do it right.

Joining Type Network felt natural for Bold Monday. Through their long-standing collaboration with Webtype, they were personally acquainted with most of the people who now form the backbone of Type Network. They found working with someone having the extensive experience of Jill Pichotta to prepare their typefaces for release on Type Network instructive. “Because our type designers are free to decide what they deem important, our fonts are not necessarily as standardized as they might be,” explained Van der Laan. “For example, we don’t always expect lining tabular figures as the default, but leave it to the designer’s discretion if they prefer giving precedence to the proportional oldstyle variants. Walthert’s Logical must have been an interesting challenge for Pichotta and her team. We went to the limit with the OpenType features that automatically create the pictograms and icons. Each font in this sixteen-style family contains over thirteen thousand lines of feature code!”

Comparison of Nitti, Nitti Grotesk and Nitti Typewriter
Nitti Grotesk, Nitti Typewriter, and Nitti are three members of the same friendly grotesque family. Nitti Grotesk’s Latin Extended character set is augmented with Cyrillic, Greek, and Hebrew in Nitti and Nitti Typewriter.

“Since they joined Webtype in 2013, I’ve been constantly amazed by the excellent type drawn by Bold Monday,” said General Manager Paley Dreier. “But what’s just as impressive is the quality of the people they’ve worked with. It’s this spirit of collaboration that I find inspiring and makes me most excited about Pieter and Paul joining Type Network.”

All Bold Monday fonts are available for print, web, applications, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days; desktop trials are available upon request. To stay current on all things Bold Monday, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.