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by Hoefler & Co.
Licenses from $104.00
Complete family of 6 fonts: $104.00
Obsidian Font Family was designed by Andy Clymer with Jonathan Hoefler and published by Hoefler & Co.. Obsidian contains 6 styles and family package options.

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  • Obsidian Regular Obsidian Regular

  • Obsidian Italic Obsidian Italic

  • Obsidian Layers Highlight Obsidian Layers Highlight

  • Obsidian Layers Highlight Italic Obsidian Layers Highlight Italic

  • Obsidian Layers Background Obsidian Layers Background

  • Obsidian Layers Background Italic Obsidian Layers Background Italic

Per style:


Pack of 6 styles:


About Obsidian Font Family

A majestic typeface uses digital means to achieve traditional ends.

The Obsidian typeface was designed by Andy Clymer with Jonathan Hoefler in 2015. Like the Surveyor typeface upon which it is based, Obsidian was inspired by mapmaking, celebrating the fanciful engraved legends that once adorned maps produced through copperplate engraving. Obsidian spans two genres, combining the handmade qualities of English Vernacular lettering with the robust proportions of ‘fat face’ poster types, two innovations in large-size lettering from the early years of the Industrial Revolution. Obsidian was recognized by an Innovation by Design award in 2015.

From the desk of the designer:

Decorated typefaces have long been a battleground for technology. In the nineteenth century, steelplate engraving allowed letters to become elaborate, flowery confections, giving rise to a style that lives on in the shaded and curlicued letters of banknotes and diplomas. Type foundries responded to this new fashion by creating ever more intricate printing types, to help printers attempt the same sorts of effects achievable through engraving. Producing these typefaces proved challenging: elaborate hand work was time consuming, resulting in fonts with severely abridged character sets (rarely more than just capitals), and attempts at mechanization produced only “engine-turned” letters with uniform patterns that were bland and unevocative. The nineteenth century would never see a solution to its own riddle of how to industrialize the shaping of letters.

We began the Obsidian project with two questions: can a decorated typeface pay homage to this tradition while being relevant to designers today, and what tools can we create to help us get there? Type design is still largely a manual art, and we felt the acute need for technical solutions to help us both explore our options through rapid prototyping, and execute successful ideas across the massive scale demanded by a contemporary typeface. Not content to be a set of decorated capitals, Obsidian would have 1,400 glyphs spanning both roman and italic styles, bringing its esprit to the most esoteric of punctuation marks and accents.

Having completed work on our Surveyor family, which celebrates the rich traditions of engraved letterforms, we used this work as a foundation for Obsidian. To explore the ways in which a typeface might be decorated, we developed a set of proprietary tools to add highlights to letterforms — ultimately creating a suite of software for interpreting two-dimensional letterforms as three-dimensional objects, through the application of virtual light sources that vary in position, angle, and intensity. Obsidian followed an iterative process, in which the tools revealed not only opportunities for improvement in the code, but in the typeface’s underlying design, and even unexpected virtues that we allowed to reshape the design brief itself. The result is a type family that escapes the shackles of historical style, while honoring the best traditions of decorative typography from the industrial age.

Designers: Andy Clymer with Jonathan Hoefler

Publisher: Hoefler & Co.

Foundry: Hoefler & Co.

Design Owner: Hoefler & Co.

MyFonts debut: null

Obsidian® is a registered trademark of The Hoefler Type Foundry, Inc.

About Hoefler & Co.

Famous for designing long-lived typefaces marked by high performance and high style, Hoefler&Co creates the fonts that give voice to the world’s foremost institutions, publications, causes, and brands. With a library of 1,500 fonts designed for print, web, office, and mobile fonts, Hoefler&Co is everywhere. Their typefaces shaped the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Joe Biden; they’re on the cornerstone of One World Trade Center and on every iPhone ever made. They serve brands from Delta Air Lines to Tiffany & Co., publications from Harper’s Bazaar to The New York Times, institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum, The Public Theater, and New York University, and non-profit organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and The Peconic Land Trust. The Premium foundry page can be viewed Here.

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