December’s font of the month: Zenith Slab DJR

Zenith Slab DJR is December’s installment of Font of the Month Club. As always, you can sign up for as little as $24!

zenith slab djr specimen

I’ve been taught to see a typeface as a kit of parts, a group of repeating elements that are the glue that holds the disparate shapes of our alphabet together. I always find it interesting to see what happens to that kit when a new part is added to the mix.

That’s exactly what I’ve done this month with Zenith Slab DJR. It’s a slab serif take on Zenith DJR, a set of Art Deco capitals based on a fire station inscription in Charlotte, North Carolina. This sans serif version was released in July 2017 as the third-ever font of the month.

Cuneiform in use
Charlotte Fire Department, South Blvd, Charlotte, NC.

Like the sans serif before it, Zenith Slab eschews traditional thick/thin models in favor of an Art Deco-inspired approach that allots a single heavy stem to each letter (popularized by Broadway). This unusual dynamic gives strings of text a distinctive rhythm, which is emphasized by the colorful inlines that lay within the heavy stems.

Zenith Slab adds distinctive angled vertical strokes to the mix, which completely transforms the tone of the typeface. While the sans serif is spare and a little stoic, the slab serif borders on playful. I let the vertical serifs to extend beyond the baseline and cap-height, and I think these little spurs add even more texture and flavor to the design.

LSC Caslon Roman

This typeface may lack a lowercase, but it makes up for it with a plethora of other features.

Zenith comes with the fonts in two layerable weights, Regular (inline) and Bold (solid). In addition, I’m also including color fonts where the color information is stored within the font itself.

These color fonts are still a little experimental, and I’m hopeful that releasing more color fonts will lead to better support. Until palette customization is implemented, club members can drag the fonts onto my Color Font Customizer, choose their own colors, and download a customized version of the font. The “Color SVG” version is mainly for use in Adobe apps, which don’t support COLR/CPAL yet.

There are also nearly 200 alternate glyphs in Zenith Slab DJR, including an entire set of spurless serifs. There a bit less playful, but maybe more fashionable? Perhaps my favorite alternate set are the diagonals with “backwards” thick/thin contrast, which you can employ to tweak the thick/thin rhythm of your text. 

Greek and Cyrillic

Like its sans serif counterpart, Zenith Slab supports basic Greek and Cyrillic in addition to the usual Latin alphabet. I love how the design’s triangular forms translate to the Greek Lambda (Λ) and Cyrillic De (Д).

I usually try to consult with native speakers when I work in these scripts, but I completely ran out of time this month. So yeah, let’s think of these as Beta, and your feedback is always welcome. 😅

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