Variable font is a tool that offers the ability for relatively radical mutations of a typeface’s skeleton. The typeface Baseliner with regards to examine in practice whether the proclaimed variability is, in reality, a mere advertising trap. But above all we were interested in whether we could imprint an easily recognisable character and “content” in practice; more precisely, not to end up designing an elegant set of unsubstantial shapes, which would have an effect of changing, but for nothing.
Diacritical marks have bothered us Europeans for centuries. The development of the typographic and polygraphic industries has helped to shape the ideal proportion of accents in all countries. The Czechs began to take up the shapes of their marks only at the beginning of the 20th century due to a lack of quality accents for typesetting beautiful books. Vojtěch Preissig (1873–1944) and Karel Dyrynk (1876–1949) were among the first to work on the problem at the beginning of the 20th century; they drew Czech and Slovak marks on existing foreign typefaces. Their alternative accent shapes were a significant addition and often (intentionally) did not correspond to the morphology of the base letters. After the first of Preissig and Dyrynk’s attempts, they settled on the opinion that accents should be a formally pronounced partner to the basic character, but should not protrude either formally or proportionally.
Despite all the efforts, to this day we haven’t been able to get rid of the non-harmonic protrusions in the compressed lines of text. It will be hard to reform the orthographic form of our language, which makes great use of diacritical marks. Luckily, after more than 100 years from the first attempts by Czech type designers, we have come up with a solution.
Baseliner is a variable font. It allows typesetting with very tight linespacing, because the diacritics can be completely embedded (figuratively speaking, to be either dug into or sunken) into the body of the character. Incorporating the diacritics also leads to atypical solutions to the construction of the characters themselves. But the compactness of the typesetting is not only achieved by embedding the accents themselves – the variable shortening of the lower baseline (the “g,” “q,” and “p,” for example) create a compact letter block from the set text.
Baseliner’s second axis offers a spectrum of variations in width proportions – from condensed to highly extended options. Because of this, Baseliner perfectly fills graphic spaces in all directions, horizontally and vertically.
The construction of the typeface is robust. Its high contrast and geometric composition of strokes with pronounced horizontal shadowing enables the typeface to be used especially in display and title sizes.
Baseliner is offered in four extreme weights in the standard OpenType format, and especially in the advanced variable type format, enabling its maximum use from a spectrum of weights and shapes. A new weapon in the fight against non-compact lines is out in the world.
Author: Šimon Matějka
Number of fonts in a family: 5 (Condensed High, Condensed Low, Extended High, Extended Low, Variable font)
Number of glyphs per font: 433
Release date: 2018
Localized Forms (locl)
Standard Ligatures (liga)
Slashed Zero (zero)
Stylistic Sets (salt)