New type family: Henriette

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In the 1920s, the Viennese government decided to standardize the street signs across the city. Since then, around 7,000 streets and squares in the Austrian capital have been labeled with white-on-blue enamel plates. A typeface was especially constructed for the purpose – but we don’t know by whom. It was available in a Heavy and a Bold Condensed version, to support short street names like Gaußplatz, as well as longer names like Wolfgang-Mühlwanger-Straße. Since the 1970s, phototypesetting has been used to produce the plates, which allows the enamel producer to also stretch the typeface to the perfect length (and which kind of hurts sometimes). As the years went by, the typeface was adopted and redrawn by several enamel factories, who each wanted a piece of the pie. These adaptations lead to variations on the design, and to the fact that there isn’t just the one Viennese street sign font but rather 16 – sometimes severely differing – versions, which we found in our research (bastards not included).

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Henriette is not a digitization of any of those versions; rather, it is influenced by all of them. In the end, it is yet another approach to the typeface that we love for its uniqueness, in the otherwise slender typographic history of our country.

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Henriette was developed by Michael Hochleiter, creator of the TDC award-winning Didone-inspired family Ingeborg. Henriette is his second big type family. It consists of 30 styles including five weights, Condensed and Compressed widths and accopanying Italics. We also didn’t skimp on OpenType features: All the Romans include a set of Small Caps, the Italics Swash Caps. All weights have ligatures, alternate glyphs, fractions, arrows and several figure styles. In addition to that Henriette comes with a Frames font, that is included with every purchased font.

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To give a glimpse of what Henriette can do, we printed a specimen catalog for your (and our own) pleasure. Its heart is masterly offset printed on Lenzing recycled paper and it has a letterpressed cover bringing tears to typographers’ eyes! Drop us a line, and we’ll be happy to send you a specimen.

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By the way, we decided to give away one weight for free – the biggest and most classic: Henriette Black. We hope that this bird will make some rounds, and we can’t wait to see it in use! If you want to make us happy and share your work on our website, send us images of real life Henriette projects!

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All other weights start at 60 Euros (80 USD), include the Frames font and are available right now! Gain flexibility and save real money by buying a package or the whole family.