RokKitT

Rokkitt was designed as a simple and straightforward slab serif webfont that could be used easily and freely across the web for developers and designers.

The geometric ‘Neo-grotesque’ Egyptian genre was popularized in the early-mid Twentieth Century in typefaces such as Rudolph Wolf’s ’Memphis’ (1929) for Stempel, Fuller Bentons ‘Stymie’ (1931) for American Type Founders, and Monotype’s ‘Rockwell’ (1933). These three historic faces are maybe the most known of the genre, cut by foundries to be able offer their own versions of this fashionable face. Other types such as ‘Cairo’, ‘Scarab’ and ‘Blackburn’ also appear around the same time as other foundries identified the market’s appetite for this particular Modern slab serif face. These designs: slab serif, neo-grotesque Egyptians, veering toward monolinearity were also perhaps an attempt to ‘Modernise’ the ‘Clarendon’ genre of slab serif faces and are were in any case based on the earlier slab serif faces sometimes used in the Nineteenth century as poster and titling fonts.

Above – Intertype’s ‘Cairo’

The raw material for the design of Rokkitt came from a number of old type specimens, including various specimens of Stymie, Cairo, Scarab, Rockwell, Memphis, Landi, Blackburn. The letterforms from these specimens were converted to font files using Fontlab, FontForge, Potrace and ScanFont. The resulting outlines were then merged in various ways to produce the basis of Rokkitt. At the heart of this was a set of outlines scanned from specimens of Monotype’s Rockwell and Linotype’s Stymie. However, visually, the design of Rokkitt owes much more to looking at ‘Landi’.

Above – ‘Blackburn’

Above – Nebiolo’s ‘Landi’, 1938

Above – Monotype’s ‘Rockwell’

Above – Sephenson Blake’s ‘Scarab’

Above – comparison of Monotype Rockwell and Rokkitt)

The main process in going from the specimens’ outlines to the design of Rokkitt was to increase the x-height compared to Rockwell & Stymie and shorten the ascenders and descenders. Also, a decision was made to reduce the feature present in Rockwell & Stymie of the overtly round counters of the ‘b’, ‘d’, ‘g’, ‘p’ and ‘q’ characters and create a square juncture of bowl-to-stem in these characters more like those found in Scarab, and more consistent with the characters of ‘h’, ‘m’ and ‘n’ in Rockwell & Stymie. Other minor details mark Rokkitt such as the more ‘Stymie-like’ design of the ‘y’ and the inclusion of full terminals at the foot of the ‘n’, ‘h’ and ‘m’ stems, like is found in Scarab but not in Rockwell & Stymie.

A regular weight of Rokkitt is available from the Google Font Directory, with Bold, Light and Heavy weights to follow. Rokkitt italics are planned based on the italics Aldo Novarese’s Landi face.

Above – Rokkitt Regular

 

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