Array was designed specifically to bring several disparate ideas together. Can a typeface work for coding and regular text? Can Renaissance ideas be combined with the normally austere styles of monospace type? Array is two typefaces in one: a monospaced family designed to take the necessities of coding into account, and a text typeface which carries a bit of that typewriter manuscript charm with it.
In order to accomplish this duality, a system of widths was devised into which all of the characters would conform. This was easy enough for the monospace—everything would have the same widths—for the proportional variant, however, things had to get a bit more complicated. The original width was divided into thirds. Then, two new widths were selected—1⅓ and ⅔. Only two styles were chosen in order to keep some of the monospace charm in this new variation.
This meant that there were three widths to choose from. Characters like the “I”, “l”, “t”, “r”, “f”, “j” and so on, along with much of the punctuation, would fit into the ⅔ slot. The “M”, “W”, “w” and a few others would fit in the 1⅓ box. Where this started to get interesting was with the design of the italics.
Renaissance italics tend to be much narrower than their upright counterparts. Look at the “o” in Adobe Garamond, the italic “o” is about 30% narrower than the upright. What this meant for Array was some characters in the proportional version which are the same width in the monospaced style were narrowed for the italic. This was not taken as extreme as it could have, in order to again maintain some of the monospace feel.
The italics also feature a few of what are commonly considered “swashed” capitals. This was done to help the monospaced italic differentiate itself when used in coding. The swashed features were made a little less flamboyant than what is traditionally drawn in order to make all-capital usage possible.
The actual letterforms of Array are not based on any one particular Renaissance model but on the genré as a whole. As the design is a monospace, some considerations had to be made, serifs had to be bulked up, otherwise, the width of the “I” would leave a gaping hole in the text. This need to bulk everything up led to the initial drawings being made not with a traditional broad nib pen, but with a brush pen.
In order to imbue the design with a bit more life and character than the traditional monospace, the brush pen was used as model. While not traditionally (if ever) used to draw Renaissance type, it lends a hand-drawn element and liveliness to the overall feel of the text while still allowing the typeface to perform its primary function(s) without distraction.
Superscript & Subscript
Stylistic Set 1
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