The book tells the story of artist Olayami Dabls, whose work often uses found materials such as mirror shards and urbanite. The typography of the book really began with the blocky letters of Alfarn, which was surprisingly similar to the signage on the outside of Dabls’ African Bead Gallery. I utilized the multiple capital widths available in Alfarn, and also created my own extreme letter variations for some of the titles. In April, about midway through production, Alfarn 2 was released, which was carefully lightened a touch to open up the counters, and features a full lowercase and a few new capital glyphs. Stunned at my second instance of Alfarn’s good fortune, I re-set most of the type in Alfarn 2.
For the body text, I used Fern Text, leaning on its translational contrast to offer a friendly anchor to the wild menagerie of type and collage-like art that dominated the reading experience. I set the optical size at 14, four points larger than the text itself, which tightened the justification behaviors very effectively. Subheads in New Spiritcomplemented Fern’s humanist touches, and I used Skolar Sans Extended for the captions and sidebars.
I found Alfarn’s punctuation somewhat wanting, so I manually replaced each punctuation mark with Ohno Fatface. Even though Fatface doesn’t really fit the whole geometric vs. translational typography of the book, the quotation marks bounced against the hard corners of Alfarn, in the same irreverent way that the artist Dabls would use clashing colors and materials.
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