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Wedge: A Carefully Considered Typeface

Monday, April 07th, 2014 | 0 comments

Wedge is the singular vision of one man. Spanning decades, the design of this
font took the history of the Roman letter into full consideration.
Despite ultimate rejection for production into metal type, the design
was realized as intended and is now released in digital form.

Noted New Zealand architect Bruce Rotherham (1926–2004) was inspired by
Herbert Bayer’s "universal alphabet" created at the Bauhaus in 1927.
 While he admired Bayer’s pure geometry, Rotherham felt it was
"virtually unreadable." The Bauhaus-inspired inclination for
architectural publications to use sans serif faces provoked Rotherham to
consider how a readable Roman book face might be approached using some
of Bayer’s same principles of simplification, but also retracing the
evolution and use of the Roman form in an analytic manner.

Bruce Rotherham spent his formative years working at his father's commercial
printing business and was tuned in to typography from an early age. The
Wedge alphabet was started in 1947 when Rotherham was an architecture
student at the University of Auckland. In 1958, after years of
development and consultation with his father, who was a master printer,
Rotherham approached Monotype to consider producing his typeface for
commercial release. After some back and forth with Monotype advertising
manager A.D.B. Jones and typographical advisor John Dreyfus, and despite
trial proofs being made, the design was politely declined for being too
much of a "specialist face."

Rotherham continued to practice architecture in New Zealand and Great Britain for
over thirty years. By chance, he heard the BBC radio show Science Now
discussing the topic of computer typesetting. Not content to give up on
Wedge, he contacted the item’s producer, Adrian Pickering, at the
University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science.
Pickering worked closely in collaboration with Rotherham in the
production of the digital version of the face. The type was shown
posthumously for Rotherham in the 2009 exhibit Printing Types: New
Zealand Type Design since 1870, held at Objectspace, in Auckland.

More information on Wedge can be found on our Behance Page

The full Design rationale can be found here


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