Visual Organization + Communication Design
Designed by Christian Schwartz; the Graphik typeface was commissioned for Condé Nast Portfolio and expanded for Wallpaper* and later T, the New York Times’ style magazine and Esquire. Graphik was inspired by the elegant plainness seen in many of the less common 20th century European sans serifs and in hand lettering on classic Swiss Modern posters. “At first look, Graphik may look like just another mid century grotesque san-serif. But upon closer inspection, it is easy to see the influence of similarly aged geometrics. This lends a touch of friendliness to the typeface, which helps it stand apart from it’s peers. Obvious similarities will be drawn to Helvetica and like-minded grotesques as well as the roundedness and relatively high x-height of Gotham, and to be fair Graphik borrows from both which result in a playful, fun, but always serious typeface.” – Urban Influence
“(It’s) pared-back forms reference classic sans serifs but remain thoroughly modern and never get frigid. Any designer worth their salt needs to turn away from the screen & pick up the latest copy of Wallpaper* magazine. There you will find one of the most beautiful, restrained sans serifs designed in a very long time.” – Graphik Reviewed by Kris Sowersby on Typographica
“When I first started work on Graphik, I wanted a very plain but relatively warm geometric sans for my own corporate identity…
It was important that it be flexible, and that it didn’t seem to be tied too closely to any particular era of graphic design. I ended up drawing inspiration from all parts of the 20th century. The heavy end of the family is based in part on Paul Renner’s Plak, a relatively obscure display typeface cut only in large sizes of woodtype, that is related to his heavier weights of Futura but has rounder, friendlier, fatter proportions. For the lighter weights, I was more influenced by the less popular sans serifs that many European foundries released to compete with Futura, Helvetica and Univers – the juggernauts of 20th century sans serifs – such as Neuzeit Grotesk, Folio, Recta, and Maxima. None of these families were groundbreaking, exactly, but many of them had a certain quirky charm. Finally, I was also influenced by mid-20th century Swiss poster typography. Like many people with any sort of interest in graphic design history, I have long admired these posters. Many of them were set in Akzidenz Grotesk and other “generic” sans serifs, but others were lettered in a plain but idiosyncratic geometric style. These posters also helped me name the family the first time around, as ‘Plakat’ is German for ‘poster’.” – Christian Schwartz
Christian Schwartz talking about the most crucial step in the design of a typeface.
“For me, deciding on or understanding a typeface’s purpose is the most crucial step. The typefaces for the Empire State Building referenced the building’s existing lettering but also had to be legible for signage, while taking into account materials and manufacturing processes. I like working with these kinds of constraints, because they usually force me to be clever and use some lateral thinking. For self-initiated projects like Amplitude and Farnham, I’ve come up with strict guidelines for myself, because having a problem to solve keeps me focused. Out in the wild, designers will use a typeface in unexpected ways, but it must do one thing really well before it can do other random things well.” – Christian Schwartz
More about this typeface http://commercialtype.com/typefaces/graphik