Typographic modernism was a late arrival in Britain due partly to the Second World War and a strong local type tradition. This delay provided a healthy distance from the incoming influence with the result that modernism was not adored in quite the same way as it had been in Germany and central Europe. Instead, it was rethought and repurposed against the backdrop of the bleak British weather and postwar social reform – a continental fashion statement turned into a more humanist variant.
Adelphi, designed by Nick Job, is a geometric sans, of that there is no doubt. Yet, in the same way that modernism was reimagined as it crossed the Channel, Nick adjusted the geometric constraints that define this genre. Whereas other typefaces seem overly bound by the rules, Adelphi feels relaxed and approachable. Elementary square and circular shapes are merely implied. A keen observer may notice that the uncomplicated letterforms occasionally reveal a subtle naïveté associated with early Grotesques. Brunel’s bridges and Harry Beck’s tube map spring to mind alongside the Bauhaus and Futura.
But Adelphi is by no means nostalgic! It is a contemporary, comprehensive and durable system with a pragmatic set of features. These include a wide array of weights, ‘duplex italics’ and variable extenders that go from tall and flat in Adelphi Text to short and sharp in Adelphi Display, with default Adelphi standing midway between these two extremes. The three variants come packed together, priced as a single font.
The pan-European support for Latin, Cyrillic and Greek scripts already makes for a vast character set, but Adelphi takes things a step further by including alternate glyphs to satisfy the DIN1450 legibility norm, a range of ordinals that can be used to create specialist compositions in all three scripts and two kinds of fractions and arrows. Play with the alternates or use it as-is, choose the all-inclusive variable font or the individual styles. Either way, this understated beauty will carry you through.
Designed by: Nick Job
Cyrillic (39 languages)
Greek (1 language)
Latin (119 languages)
Variable font axes:
Optical size (opsz): 6 to 18
Weight (wght): 100 to 900
Slant (slnt): −9.5 to 0
“Nick Job saw my baby steps as a type designer on the Typophile forum and kindly offered advice and new sources of inspiration. That’s how I learned about his enthusiasm for British Rail and modernist design in general. He is a sans-serif specialist by heart, exploring mechanical influences (FS Hackney) as well as Englishness in design (FS Elliot). Always classic, always practical. His latest release, Adelphi, has been years in the making. With time, it’s grown into a solid multilingual project with a subtle variable twist and too many alternates. It’s a joy to use. Try it.”
Nick Job is an independent British type designer. He has a degree in graphic design from Nottingham Trent University. After a decade as in-house brand designer for a major multinational transport provider, he launched his own design business, realising a long-held ambition to produce type. He has since produced retail typefaces for Monotype and Fontsmith prior to the release of Adelphi with Rosetta. Nick, a self-confessed anorak, is also the author of the doublearrow.co.uk website which showcases the former British Rail Corporate Identity.