BC Motel Slab
Night life typography and the typography of streets, bars and motorway stops can be an infinite source of inspiration. This is true without exception for the North Moravian town of Havířov, which contains a plethora of true gems. For example, slightly obscure neon shopping centre signage, which freely alternates between uppercase and lowercase letters. Their naive but genial style, reminding us of the long-standing tradition of Czechoslovak advertising typefaces, served as the impulse for the inception of the Motel Sans and Motel Slab font duo, which expands upon this magical concept. Both families transport the grotesque aesthetics of night clubs, petrol stations and mysterious motels to your print or web pages.
Neons were commonplace in the streets of former Czechoslovakia. Unlike virtuoso Las Vegas compositions, they kept to fairly modest expressions, and so in many cases complemented house facades with fairly good taste. More so than today’s blaring plotter graphics, ostentatiously disregarding the architecture they are placed on. Neon signs usually worked in two ways. They were three dimensional letters on facades during the day, and neon lines at night. These would either copy the shapes of the letters, or (more often) would be in the centre of the strokes. The same principles are adhered to in both Motel families. Each consists of three styles, with Regular forming the character body and Light being the neon snake. Combining these gives us Black, where neon lines shine from within darkened characters. All three styles tie in identically to one another and can be mixed and matched to taste among themselves.
Motel Sans is a monolinear typeface with a uniform character height. It forms a pleasant, monumental placard majuscule in its default setting, but changes into a very dynamic and convivial display type upon selecting one of the available stylistic sets. Its character is then reminiscent of the so-called hybrid uppercases, in which uppercase and lowercase letters alternate, creating an unusually dramatic effect. Lowercase alternations are reserved for most of the characteristic letters of the typeface such as “a”, “e”, “t”, “y” and several others. The lowercase “i” and “j” stand out from the set by having a lower height so as to include the dots above them. Motel Sans and Slab also have an additional extensive frame set, available upon selecting the appropriate stylistic set. This encompasses not only the basic character set, but also alternative characters (interchangeable through stylistic set combinations), currency symbols and punctuation, so that typesetting of complex combinations is possible. You will be able to utilise the font’s elegant frame set in posters, directional signs or other signpost typesettings.
In addition, Motel Slab incorporates heavy-tonnage serifs. Besides minor alterations to the letter shapes, the width proportions have been increased, so the typesetting takes up more space. All other attributes remain the same, however, and the family still represents a slightly decadently beautiful typeface. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how many novel and entertaining variations you can create by alternating all six typefaces of both type families on one line or even within one word.
Neon signs on a building in Havířov – these were the inspiration for Vojtěch Říha’s Motel type family. These are used on the building to this day. It’s more of a rarity, though; such signs and neon advertisements are slowly but surely disappearing into obscurity. In the past, however, these were an integral part of the visual culture of Czechoslovak retail.
The first sampler of Motel Sans, printed using a Risograph machine, design by Vojtěch Říha; 2012.
Design: Vojtěch Říha
Number of fonts in a family: 3 (Light, Regular, Bold)
Number of glyphs per font: 859
Release date: 2014
Stylistic Sets (salt ss01 – ss02)
Slashed Zero (zero)
Localized Forms (locl)