Afro type

claire's picture

Hi typophiles!

My post is not about identifying a font but suggesting one.
I am currently working on a document for a dance company to promote their new show. (Title: "Tribute to the roots". Dance style: Afro + Gwo Ka –dance from Gadalupe—)
In the choice of the display typeface, I would like to avoid stereotypes about african culture… but as I don't know african, black nor caribean culture so much, it's a lot of research to do for me at the moment… Does anyone have a suggestion about a typeface that would say "African roots"?

What comes first to my mind is (I'm affraid if it's stereotype):
• a bold condensed Sans (Akzidenz Grotesk Bold Cond…), a kind of wooden type for the press,
• …or at least a geometric Sans,
• a manual type (but it's hard to find the right one, not too childich nor precious),
• "Lithos" from Adobe? …but maybe too "greek"…
• a slab serif type…

I will post later something I tried but for now if anyone had a suggestion, it would be welcome.

Claire

typerror's picture

Neuland, by Rudolf Koch, is often used in this genre.

Michael

poms's picture

> a slab serif type…
Hey, why not trying a contemporary version of a "display, headline" slab, like Soho, Dispatch and such. An extreme weight of Dispatch (Extended Black) for example.
If classic – Some Rockwell look good also …

> Neuland
this is the most stereotypical pseudo african font of all times.

jonnyboyle's picture

i came across this site a while ago while looking for the same thing...

http://www.design-africa.com/fonts/african-fonts01.html

typerror's picture

Sorry Poms if I offended you... but it happens to echo a lot of the symbology and decoration in crafts. Am working on a logo right now with a similar twist and the weights and angles are appropriate and complimentary according to the research the client has done. So before you launch an attack.........

If you go back and look at Johnny and Jeo's suggestions they are nothing more than variations on a theme.... with a little Hoffman thrown in. And what does a slab have to do with it?

Michael

typerror's picture

Graig

Excellent x 3... I was ok until I hit the last line. Sometimes I think academes and critics overstep.

What I was insinuating about Neuland is the hand work, almost a purely primitive response to the medium. The angles and craftsmanship are what makes it continental to me... stone, wood, iconic, even organic etc. I have always admired this face, it was unique, quirky and bubblelicious : ) Sorry, could not help myself. And I do not think it ever belonged in the garbage heap.

When I was teaching at VCU I had a Nigerian student who had drawn his name on his notebook in a naive Neuland. I asked him why and he said it was very tribal looking. It reminded him of wood and stone and the crafts his mother made to sell.

I am working on a series for an international group and their focus is Africa. It is odd... but of the hundreds of pictures that I see from the trips, many of the "painted signs" have a Neuland quality to them.

Michael

typerror's picture

p.s. They are not into serifs.... that should make everyone around here happy :>)

It is almost like Optima gone wild. Even bigger :>)

Michael

poms's picture

Are there african type- and graphic designers active members here? Join in the discussion.

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