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Brando & Prism

July 28, 2015 by David Sudweeks

Not just any serif face is up to the task of pairing well with a dazzling show-stopper like Sascha Timplan’s Prism. It requires a certain contemporary strength, difficult stuff to quantify, I know. Mike Abbink’s Brando seems to mix in naturally.

It’s in Brando’s unusual approach—incorporating text models that feel more sans than serif, the interplay of static and dynamic contrast, closely harmonized character widths, generous fit, and those almost modular bracketed serifs—that it edges its way toward the most contemporary end of the spectrum. The fresh reading experience it creates in text is both calm and quietly fervent. Its extreme weights give the face additional versatility, offering subhead and display options that close up the gaps and work at larger sizes.

Prism by nature is somewhat noisy when it speaks, but the novel marks of its construction also draw attention to its fine attention to detail. Beside the obvious multilinear aspect of its character, its dynamism of width and counterform can be used to make a distinctive texture. Together the two form a tight bond, reminding me that in the right circumstances, the more disparate the parts, the greater the sum.