August 21st, 2007

Facetime 5: Type Designers Kai Oetzbach and Natascha Dell on Jenny

Kai & Natascha talk about their typeface inspired by Jenson’s Antiqua.

For many Japanese designers, the cultural and historical nuances of Western typefaces can seem obscure, making choosing a typeface a daunting task. As a result, many Japanese designers stick with familiar favorites like Helvetica or Garamond, or grasp at decorative fonts that lose their flavor after a few bites.

This series was originally conceived for Japanese designers, to introduce well-crafted Western fonts and the contemporary designers behind them. In the end though, we enjoyed these interviews so much ourselves, we decided to publish them in the English too.

Jenny in Use

Photo of Kai Oetzbach and Natascha Dell

Jenny (2005, 2006)

Kai Oetzbach, Natascha Dell
Fontfarm
Aachen, Germany

What was your inspiration for this typeface?

In the beginning the font Jenny didn’t grow from the background of a certain concept as one might think. It was a project which took our mind off other things for a while. The first idea (if it realy was an idea) was to take a look at some details of the old Renaissance font Jenson Antiqua, and to let these details take influence on a headline, or fun font. So the first sketches of Jenny were kind of funny and embryonic.

One day we set the font in a small text and found out that it had a quite astonishing readability, which we didn’t expect. So a new, more serious project was born: A revision of old Jenson Antiqua with more contemporary forms that don’t follow the pen stroke exactly and strong details. Readable in small sizes, perky and sexy in display sizes.

How did you making sure that Jenny’s italic and roman had a unified feeling?

The italic version of Jenny was realised parallel to the roman font. We took the roman formal details and attributes and modified them to look more written than constructed. So the italic version is autonomous, but it has a lot formal equivalents to the roman font.

Jenny in Use

What are some of the ideal uses for Jenny?

Jenny can be used for both headlines and longer text passages depending on your needs. You can use it in book design, in magazines, newspaper design and any other media with masses of text. Depending on your concept, you can accentuate either or both of Jennys attributes: the strength of its glyphforms or its good readability.

glyph combinations from Jenny

Which single character do you love the most in Jenny?

Hard to say. Because we kept our mind on the whitespace of the glyphs, it’s easier to pick out glyph combinations we like, such as age, cas, ftx, and cy.

Do you have a favorite typeface, or one that has influenced you the most?

Here are a few other antiqua fonts, which don´t really influence us to realise Jenny but we like a lot anyway:

Chris PalmieriAfter studying graphic design and Japanese language and aesthetics, Chris moved to Tokyo in 2001 to begin his design practice.
He co-founded AQ in 2004 to bring design basics to cultural organizations with bilingual websites. In his current role as managing director, Chris works with clients to clarify their ideas, oversees the creative process and designs.Read more posts by Chris Palmieri


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