I tested some classic serif typefaces like Garamond and Caslon, and contemporary magazine types such as Kepler and Lyon that work very well at small sizes. I also played around with some sans serif typefaces, but quickly abandoned the idea because they felt too modern. Offscreen is about returning to our roots and bringing back a traditional, calm reading experience.
Calluna strikes a nice balance between a traditional serif and a more playful contemporary text face. It works very well in both small and large sizes and could therefore easily be used as a display face. The various weights and styles allow for a range of applications, which was particularly helpful when a single typeface is used for all body text. I especially fell in love with Calluna’s small caps, something I tried working into every page. For example, the folio uses Calluna in small caps at 8.5 pt followed by a thick, bleeding line carrying a color code for each interview. Offscreen is a magazine about people, so their names appear (with very few exceptions) consistently across the whole magazine in prominent small caps at 15 pt bold, usually followed by their job title in regular italic and their location, in regular small caps at 8.5 pt.
The pull-quotes use Calluna’s beautiful set of discretionary ligatures. I first tried to apply the color specific to the interview to the text of the quotes, but this felt too distracting. So I tried a black version (both in terms of color and weight) and loved it. Even though the ligatures can seem a little over-decorative at times, I really like how they compliment the interview spreads.
I ended up liking Calluna so much that it formed the Offscreen logo, which is basically Calluna in black with a few manual alterations to some brackets and stems. Calluna is on Typekit, which helped me make a final decision on the typeface. I like consistency across different media, even though Calluna looks quite different on screen. It loses a bit of its round and playful dynamic when displayed in smaller sizes, which I assume is partly due to the low resolution of computer screens and the different ways browsers are rendering it. Finding an accompanying display typeface came easier. I played with Morgan Knutson’s Mensch for a while, which looks particularly nice in white with inlines applied on a color background. Its regular style didn’t appeal to me, though, so I looked for an alternative condensed typeface with a similar “decorated” feature. H&FJ’s Cyclone had me convinced straight away. In its regular uppercase style, Cyclone feels calm and bold yet still subtle, and transforms into a more embellished typeface with its inline.
In use, both typefaces find a nice balance between contemporary modern and a more traditional magazine look. There was a conscious decision to only have two typefaces throughout the magazine and have the text only black on white or vice versa.