Site of the Week
Posted: Fri 31 May, 2013 by: anthony-noel
Fetch Softworks’ website stands apart from the techie flavored neo sans trend preferred by most software developers and web professionals by using PampaType's Arlt, an unconventional, spicy text font.
Arlt Blanca, Arlt Blanca Italic, Arlt Gris, Arlt Gris Italic, Arlt Blanca Versalita & Arlt Gris Versalita by PampaType
Arlt is an intriguing choice for the headline and display type. A multifacted text face family built around a core of four styles (Blanca, Gris, Negra and Super Negra translate as light, regular, black and blacker than black), each with accompanying italic and small caps fonts, the full family includes titling variants — not used here incidentally — Deco forms, and seven versions with various levels of distressed outline.
As Arlt’s designer, Alejandro Lo Celso, says in the excellent extended description (click the "more" link):
"Arlt is a complex typeface. Its characters have vigorous counterforms. As individual shapes the letterforms can feel impulsive and capricious, but once they are combined into words, they look elegant and sober."
The three titling variants, which include an incised inline, were possibly a little too far out for Fetch’s purposes here. With tweaked spacing and finer contrast, they’re intended for larger settings like headlines, and with some attractive detailing they would work well in a genuine literary context, but here the designer probably felt the core text weights still had plenty of standout character.
Fetch’s designer has found plenty of interesting ways to make Arlt work to its full potential. They’ve used the small caps font for page titles and made good use of all caps settings to create a dynamic hierarchy. The italic capital Q, seen here in an H3 header, is pretty wonderful.
Most notably though, visitors using any of the browsers that support OpenType features will see discretionary ligatures in the titles, such as the st combination in the headline for Fetch’s product page, as well as the more conventional ligatures such as the fi combination.
Discretionary ligatures have been enabled by using the font-feature-settings CSS property, and applying it to the body selector. As mentioned, support for OpenType features is limited, but normal ligatures can be turned on using the OptimizeLegibility property.
KOROLEV COMPRESSED LIGHT BY DEVICE FONTS
Korolev Compressed by Device Fonts is a geometric sans based on lettering found on Soviet propaganda posters. Its outline is probably derived from drawings made using a ruler and compass, and this geometric character is more in line with the contemporary fashion popular with software developers and web- and technology-based brands.
In contrast to Arlt though, it is used only occasionally and doesn’t contribute much to the overall aesthetic. Its main function is a label, appearing as tab on the project pages as a way to navigate between the two products, and is used in a vertical stack for date blocks on news and blog post entries.
Proxima Nova by Mark Simonson
Visually, Proxima Nova is the least prominent of the three webfonts in use, but it does perform an important function as the typeface used for all navigation elements, in the main and secondary menu blocks and in the links to product download, purchase and support pages.