The Inside

An overview of the design process of Recife and its cousin Valizas.

Valizas Font Luzi Type Foundry

An old plaque of Fate s.a., the tire factory workshop in Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay.

I used to live for a few months in Montevideo. Uruguay is a rural country with many agricultural machines. Every tractor needs its repair shop, so there are quite a few of these places.

Once, I came across one of these workshops with a particular plaque; it stated fate. This simple but ingenious lowercase f of the logo of this tire factory intrigued me. And like that, a typeface concept was born: adding spaces into as many counter forms as possible.

Valizas Font Luzi Type Foundry

The concept is to add spaces into counter forms.

Valizas Font Luzi Type Foundry

First quirky scribble of Recife.

Since the old logo of fate was a sans-serif typeface, I initially started making a grotesque font. However, I quickly turned to a serif typeface, which was a more obvious option. Serif fonts are generally more calligraphic and therefore have more contrast. So the concept fit better.

Timelapse: the evolution of the Recife font.

I designed Recife for editorial needs. Its design follows the Dutch serif typeface tradition. Adding some extra space in the counter forms was seamlessly possible and gives the letters a subtle elegance. In 2018, I published Recife Text and Recife Display.

Port of Spain

A variable font animation shows the final version of Recife Text.

After completing Recife, I always had the idea of creating a matching sub-family called Recife Sans. However, after several attempts, I wasn’t entirely convinced by the sketches of my Sans version.

I put Recife Sans aside for a few years. Then, in 2021, I revisited the idea and took a fresh look at the entire concept. I felt there must be a way to apply this concept to a sans-serif font, as it offers a distinct visual strategy that adds a unique character to letterforms.

Finally, I found a new approach to use this concept. Instead of creating a sibling to Recife, I thought of introducing a cousin. This allowed me to think more independently from the first typeface while focusing on how to apply the concept to a separate font.

Valizas Font Luzi Type Foundry

Sketches from 2021: the Sans Version needs a larger x-height...

Valizas Font Luzi Type Foundry

...and a punchy character.

I named the Sans cousin Valizas. The key was to design Valizas with a larger x-height, providing sufficient vertical space to accommodate its expressive character. Valizas has a fun and flowing appearance that sets it apart as a one-of-a-kind typeface.

Port of Spain

A variable font animation showcases the final draft of Valizas

This summarises a process of several years. This project has demonstrated to me the potential of simple concepts in visual design and the fact that certain ideas require time to fully develop.

→ Valizas

→ Recife

← Notes