The letterforms that we now accept as the historical standard for printing latin alphabets were developed in Italy around the end of 1400. Deriving from Roman capitals and from italic handwriting, they soon replaced the blackletter letterforms that were used a few years before by Gutenberg for his first moveable types. Between these two typographical traditions there’s an interesting and obscure middle ground of historical oddballs, like the Pannartz-Sweynheym Subiaco types, cut in Italy in 1462.
Keratine is the result of Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini’s exploration of that territory. Like our Kitsch by Francesco Canovaro it explores the impossible territory between antiqua and blackletter, not as a mere historical research, but rather as a way to re-discover and empower an unexpected and contemporary dynamism. Using contemporary digital aesthetics to combine the proportions of humanistic type with the gestural energy of Fraktur letterforms, Keratine develops a “digitally carved”, quasi-pixelated appearance (clearly stressed in Keratine’s italics) that allows an unexpected balance between small-size readability and display-size personality.
Keratine also relies heavily on a variable identity as the letterforms change dynamically with weight, developing from a contrasted, text-oriented light range to more expressive and darker display range, for a total of 8 weights with italics. Open type features and glyph alternates further enrich the usage possibility of this typeface that embodies our contemporary swap culture by embracing the contradictory complexity at the crossroads between Gothic and Humanist styles, while playfully empathising with a digital, brutalist spirit.