Cyrus Highsmith culled his Allium family down to size, engineering a text version that shines in the 8 to 24-point range. In addition to adjusting the proportions and spacing, Highsmith accentuated the contrast between inside and outside of letters to increase their broadcast range. June Shin and Cem Eskinazi assisted.
The cross between calligraphy and sans serif is rare, inhabiting territory between Hermann Zapf’s Optima, classical sans structure with a calligraphic spirit, and Warren Chappell’s Lydian, classical calligraphy without serifs. Cyrus Highsmith claims adventurous new ground with Amira, a letterform that pops from the page with an angled vitality. Amira both welcomes and surprises readers with bright new rhythms and texture.
Cyrus Highsmith’s Antenna is a versatile industrial sans serif that projects confidence and deliberation. He slowed down his usual fast curves and shifted the emphasis to pattern of white shapes formed inside and between characters. With seven weights in four widths and matching italics, Antenna is ready for almost anything.
Cyrus Highsmith began work on Daley’s Gothic in 1997, experimenting with a steel brush and ink on paper. He went on to draw many variations, and in 1998 finally settled on three weights with matching italics, designed for compact headlines. He named the family after his mother, who taught him how to draw.
Cyrus Highsmith created Dispatch in his search for an industrial-grade slab serif to serve as text and display. It’s a taut amalgam of letterforms found in typescript, on engineering blueprints, and shipping labels. Use it for heavy commercial lifting. Cem Eskinazi assisted with its re-release as Dispatch 2.
Cyrus Highsmith found inspiration for his Ibis series by combining unlikely sources, Justus Erisch Walbaum’s 1919 Walbaum and Hermann Zapf’s 1952 Melior. For the display version, he thinned the serifs and compacted the fitting. It comes in a robust range of weights and widths with corresponding italics.
Cyrus Highsmith found inspiration for his Ibis series by combining unlikely sources, Justus Erisch Walbaum’s 1919 Walbaum and Hermann Zapf’s 1952 Melior. He drew Ibis Text for use in his own typography textbook, Inside Paragraphs. It comes in a robust range of weights, small caps, and corresponding italics.
Way back in 1997, Cyrus Highsmith bought a box of magentic letters from a variety store. Many years later, the colorful plastic shapes inspired him to make Icebox. It’s a modular sans serif for headlines and short blurbs of text available in three weights plus a bonus Magnet style. It requires no refrigeration.
Way back in 1997, Cyrus Highsmith bought a box of magentic letters from a variety store. The colorful plastic shapes inspired him to make Icebox many years later. It’s a modular sans serif for headlines and short blurbs of text available in three weights plus a bonus Magnet style. It requires no refrigeration.
In 1938, French designer Charles Loupot drew a groundbreaking logotype to promote St. Raphaël aperitif wine. Half a century later, the logo inspired New York designer and illustrator Laurie Rosenwald to work with Cyrus Highsmith on expanding it into a typeface. At once industrial and calligraphic, Loupot is one of the few scripts that offers a successful all-caps setting.
Occupant Oldstyle is a 21st century text face from Cyrus Highsmith, assisted by June Shin. The rounded triangular endings are the result of a long fermentation process that combines ingredients from Japanese Mincho style typefaces, rounded sans serifs, electronic music, and toys. Highsmith calls them ‘child-safe serifs’.
In Pentameter, Marie Otsuka explores the polyrhythmic potential that usually stays dormant inside the limitations of monospaced typefaces. As an “upright italic,” the letterforms create a lively pattern while their uniform metrics remain steady. The result is an inventive design on a syncopated beat that resonates with the poetics beyond code.
Spanish for press, Prensa is a dynamic series for text from Cyrus Highsmith. He arrived at this family’s character through his process of “wrapping outside curves around the inside, deliberately creating tension between the two,” a technique epitomized in Electra, a 1935 bookface by 20th-century master W.A. Dwiggins. This tension really appears in the italics, which stray from the traditional forms to balance simplicity with vitality.
“Kiosk” in Spanish is Quiosco, also the name of a text family designed by Cyrus Highsmith. It’s part of his exploration of the work of W.A. Dwiggins and the contrast between the inside and outside of letterforms. Quiosco brings a lively texture to narrow columns of text and permits compact wordspaces with no loss of readability.
Rapport is a grotesque sans serif that exudes warmth. It was born on the walls of RISD Museum when June Shin designed the exhibition Altered States in 2017. She took inspiration from one of the artworks on display, the frontispiece of the 1862 publication of Charles François Daubigny’s etchings. Rapport’s whimsical features and general wideness contribute to the design’s quirky, friendly character.
Cyrus Highsmith created the extensive Salvo series to help unify three different magazines under one typographic umbrella. Salvo Serif is an outspoken slab design in five weights and three widths with corresponding italics. The heavy serifs help to form unified words that catch the reader’s eye and draw them into the text.
Cyrus Highsmith drew Scout to meet the evergreen request for an industrial sans serif that resembles DIN 1451 but not too much. He mixed in ingredients from Venus, Cairoli, as well as his own graphic sensibilities. It comes in a robust range of weights and two widths plus italics for headlines, captions, and sidebars. June Shin added Greek and Cyrillic alphabets.
Cyrus Highsmith is known for his all-round workhorse families like Antenna, Scout, and Salvo. In Serge, he lets loose the reins and raises a show pony. It’s an acrobatic design for decorative blurbs, signs, and headlines. The family has three weights, from Regular to Black, but all are equally light on their feet. A set of swash caps adds a subtle flair.
Stainless was originally derived from Cyrus Highsmith’s slab serif, Dispatch. It began as a simple experiment but evolved into its own series. It’s been used in headlines and pull quotes in publications around the world from Señor Fútbol to the Wall Street Journal. Cem Eskinazi assisted with its re-release as Stainless 2.
Tick and Tock reflect Cyrus Highsmith’s long love affair with stencils as well as modular alphabets. Tick came from cutting paper and includes a randomizing feature that gives words a natural handmade appearance. It comes in only one weight but it gets the job done when you need a word or two to attract the reader’s attention.
Cyrus Highsmith’s Zócalo series was part of Eduardo Danilo’s 2002 redesign of the leading Mexico City newspaper, El Universal. It was inspired by Nicholas Kis’s oldstyle as well as Highsmith’s impressions of México itself. Zócalo Banner is a stylistic variation of Zócalo Display with simplified serifs for headlines and decks.
Cyrus Highsmith’s Zócalo series was part of Eduardo Danilo’s 2002 redesign of the leading Mexico City newspaper, El Universal. It was inspired by Nicholas Kis’s oldstyle as well as Highsmith’s impressions of México itself. Zócalo Text derives its sturdy proportions from Chauncey Griffith’s classic newsface, Ionic No.5.