Exactly five years ago, I published the inaugural edition of the Font of the Month Club. I thought I’d be ready to celebrate this anniversary with some big, insightful retrospective on how the experience has redefined my process (which it has) and transformed the way I think about making and releasing type (which it did).
But that’s the thing about working this way: the months pass by so fast that it’s hard to pause and reflect. And if I have to choose between writing a thinkpiece or reinvigorating one of my lesser-used fonts with a superfluous 3D highlight, I’m always gonna choose fonts! 🤷
Hot on the heels of Nickel Gothic’s expansion, I’m sending you an expanded version of Nickel, the original font of the month (May 2017). Like last month, I started by adding a lowercase, and like last month, it was a pretty clear-cut transformation that turned out even nicer than I had hoped. The imposing vertical serifs (essentially the jaws of a staple remover) get even larger than they were in the uppercase...what can I say, I like tall vertical serifs!
Like Forum, Augustea Open, and other midcentury outline fonts before it, Nickel’s Open Face variant plays with the tension between 2D abstract shapes and 3D optical illusion. Coming back to it now, I added optical correction to the open shapes so the horizontal lines no longer feel too thick.
I also “forked” the base layer, so there are different versions for using alone and in combination with the open shapes. This allowed me to make specific accommodations, most visible in the pinching counterforms of the lowercase. When used alone, I wanted those pinches to feel sharp and incisive. When used with the open shapes, I needed them to shrink or disappear to make room for the inline shapes.
Last but not least, I drew the aforementioned highlight layer to add a little extra oomph and gave Nickel the full color fonts treatment: it now comes as layerable fonts (Nickel Layers) and color fonts (Nickel Color).
On the technical front, there’s been recent progress in support of customizable color palettes in Safari and Chrome, which I hope will make my color fonts easier and more fun to use. I’d love to see color palette selection in Desktop apps, but in the meantime you can always use my Color Font Customizer to tweak the color palettes embedded in the font file.
And for the first time, I’m including a version (Nickel v2 Color Regular) that doesn’t rely on predefined color palettes and instead uses the primary color of your text. It doesn’t seem to work in Adobe apps, which is a bummer, but I think it’s still pretty nifty.
Maybe someday I’ll sit down and write that retrospective, but for now let me just take this opportunity to thank Font of the Month Club members for supporting my work! Five years later, I still think this club pushes me to make more interesting work than I would be otherwise, and it’s hard for me to imagine what my life would be like without it. Whether you’ve been a member since the start or you just joined last month, you made that possible. 💜