metro nova

ioan.davies

Metro

Nova


A typographic explanation of

the fundamental processes that

govern our world.


04 — Contents

06 — Aa

08 — Bb

10 — Cc

12 — Dd

14 — Ee

16 — Ff

18 — Gg

20 — Hh

22 — Ii

24 — Jj

26 — Kk

28 — Ll

30 — Mm

32 — Nn

34 — Oo

36 — Pp

38 — Qq

40 — Rr

42 — Ss

44 — Tt

46 — Uu

48 — Vv

50 — Ww

52 — Xx

54 — Yy

56 — Zz

58 — Metro

60 — Metro Nova condensed

62 — Metro Nova bold


Evolution is the mechanism that explains how

life on Earth has developed over millions of years

from single cell organisms to fantastically complex

creatures, like you. Using Monotype’s Metro Nova,

the processes by which the simple building blocks

of life can form designs of infinite complexity from

seemingly chaotic and random conditions, can be

illustrated by replacing the building blocks with letter

forms, and the rules by interlinking the characteristic

shapes and angles of the letters.


To understand where this all began we have to go

back some 3.5 billion years into Earth’s history.

The Earth at this point was a ‘primordial’ soup of

minerals and carbon dioxide with no constituents of

life that we would recognise today. The atmosphere

was ravaged by constant volcanic eruptions and

days only lasted six hours because the Earth’s

rotation was much faster at this point in time.

Somehow something triggered the development of

life from this chaotic world.

How that happened is fiercely debated.

A new and interesting theory is that static charges,

generated by hot gases escaping from vents deep on

the ocean floor, created an electrical charge in the

surrounding water. This small charge was enough to

kick-start the development of simple organisms that

feed off this electrical charge. Eventually these tiny

organisms evolved the capacity to create a charge

of their own, allowing them to leave the confines of

this primitive environment and evolve into bigger

and more complex creatures.

However life was almost snuffed out before it

really got going by an event that lasted 100’s of

millions of years. Discoveries of rock samples

around the globe, taken from a period just before

evidence is seen of complex organisms, shows

from glacial deposits, that the Earth was covered

in a thick layer of ice, kilometres thick in certain

parts. Known as Snowball Earth it is likely that

even simple organisms would have struggled to

survive in these hostile conditions. However, some

hardy microbes dubbed ‘Extremofiles’ held on for

millions of years living on the surface of glaciers

and sediments where ice met rock.


The Earth eventually warmed due to volcanic

activity some 650 million years ago which

produced a greenhouse effect heating the planet

up. As conditions became more favourable life

boomed in complexity and shortly after, the first

large multi cellular organisms developed.

They are referred to as ‘Charnia’. These simple

organisms that developed deep in the ocean were

basic in nature with constantly self repeating

patterns like we see in plant life today.

This design repeated throughout the natural

world led the maverick mathematician Benoit

Mandelbrot to coin the term ‘fractal’ and create the

instantly recognisable ‘Mandelbrot Set’.

This fractal design, which inspired many of the

designs in this book, allowed organisms, which

thrived by filtering nutrients from the water

around them, to create complex structures

with large surface areas. This made them highly

successful, although this design was to become

their ultimate downfall as other forms of life

developed in new and more diverse ways.


This diversification came in a number of ways.

Mobility was the first major step forward which

allowed the previously static organisms to avoid

danger and search for food, seeding the evolution

of sensory organs and the basic blueprint for the

body plan of all animals that we see today, i.e. eyes

nose and mouth at the front to sense food. Mid

sections to attach appendages to (arms and legs)

and of course, a rear end.


48


Fractals are everywhere in nature, from the veins in

your body, the branches of trees and plants, to the

winding structures of vast river systems. If you look

outside your window you will notice that nearly all

the natural processes you see will, in one way or

another, use this simple concept of repeating and

scaling down of shapes to form structure.

This same process can be replicated using

typography. The shape of the letters determines

what can ultimately be built by resizing and

fitting them together. In the same way that

nature creates its exquisite structures, many of

the images in this book have been formed by the

designer merely manipulating the letter forms to

see what comes about; imitating nature’s natural

processes… after all, nature does not need an

active interfering designer!

49


“a

One day in the late 1920s, C. H. Griffiths, who

was responsible for typographic development at

Mergenthaler Linotype at the time, read a magazine

article bemoaning the lack of worthy sans serif

typefaces available for Linotype composition.

The article was written by William Addison

Dwiggins, an eminent calligrapher, illustrator, writer

and graphic designer of the day. Rather than ignoring

Dwiggins’ rant, Griffiths sent him a letter that, in

essence, offered, “If you think you know so much,

let’s see the sans serif you can draw.”

Dwiggins rose to the challenge – and it wasn’t long

before “typeface designer” became the newest of his

accomplishments. Metro quickly became a mainstay

of graphic design in North America. Its widespread

prominence lasted until the early 1950s, when

faces from Europe began to find their way across

the Atlantic. Metro also proved to be the first of 17

typeface families Dwiggins would draw for Linotype.

Fast forward 80-some years, and the Metro Nova

story begins with the making of a movie.

Doug Wilson, producer and director of the

documentary “Linotype: The Film,” did some of his

research for the project at the Printing Museum in

North Andover, Mass. The museum’s director told

Wilson about the original Mergenthaler Linotype

typeface drawings stored in the museum. Eagerly

sifting through these artifacts, Wilson happened

across the original production drawings for Metro –

and it was love at first sight.

Wilson was determined to have Metro for his film’s

credits. Several e-mails, a spate of phone calls and

an in-person meeting or two later, it was agreed that

Toshi Omagari, a Monotype type designer, would

develop a custom font for the movie.


design dare”

William Addison Dwiggins [1880 - 1956]

“Doug specifically wanted the original version

of Metro,” recalls Omagari, “so I only made small

modifications to the design. Then it was decided

Metro would be revived for Monotype, and I felt

that it would be appropriate to make fartherreaching

changes.”

The original Metro was designed to be compatible

with the early, somewhat rudimentary Linotype

18-unit spacing system. Metro was also a duplexed

family. (Duplexed typefaces are a pair of designs –

usually roman and bold or italic – sharing common

character widths.) Omagari comments,

“An interesting challenge on the Metro Nova project

was removing the duplexing restrictions while still

maintaining the character of the design. I eventually

stopped drawing letters based on the earlier shapes

and began to refine proportions to what I considered

right. And to what I hope Dwiggins probably would

have done, if he had been given the opportunity.”

Omagari worked to make Metro Nova appealing

to current design sensibilities without sacrificing

the essence of the original. “There were a number

of idiosyncrasies in Dwiggins’ original,” he recalls.

“Distilling these was a challenge. They were perhaps

the most difficult, and the most rewarding, part of the

design process. Addressing them was when Metro

Nova became my own design.”

[credit: www.fonts.com/font/linotype/metro-nova]


Condensed Thin

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Condensed Thin Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Condensed Light

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Condensed Light Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Condensed

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Condensed Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Condensed Medium

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Condensed Medium Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “


Condensed Bold

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Condensed Bold Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Condensed Black

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Condensed Black Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “


Thin

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Thin Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Light

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Light Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Regular

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Medium

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Medium Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “


Bold

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Bold Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Black

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Black Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Extra Blck

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

Extra Black Italic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 , . ? ! ( ) ; : & “

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines