BC Reflex

Reflex was designed by a graphic design team, namely Pavel Beneš, Pavel Lev and Aleš Najbrt, for Reflex, a weekly magazine focusing on social, political and cultural commentary and issues that first went to print in 1990, shortly after the Velvet Revolution. Published since 1990 and primarily focusing on social, political and cultural commentary and issues. Aleš Najbrt was a key figure at the magazine, simultaneously holding the posts of art director and editor-in-chief during the magazine’s formative years from 1990 to 1992.
The headlines of regular magazine columns were hand drawn in ink and were based on the logotype. The original ink dip pens drawings made by were re-typed each week into templates, based on which graphic designers then made pre-press preparations. The magazine’s graphic style can be seen as a contemporary answer to Britain’s The Face, art-directed by Neville Brody; in the Czech context, a magazine based around dominant and playful modern typography was a welcome novelty. Even though the graphic attributes of the magazine slowly gravitated towards the mainstream over time, Najbrt’s striking, unmistakable logotype, forming the identity of the magazine since its conception, remains to this
day.
Czechoslovak photographer Tono Stano was a regular contributor during the first years of the magazine. In later years the magazine showcased the works of other acclaimed Czech photographers, illustrators and artists, such as Salim Issa, Adam Holý, Jan Šibík, David Kraus and Jakub Požár. Their images combined with the distinctive typography to underline the magazine’s exceptional graphic character.


In 2001 Marek Pistora became art director of Reflex. One of the very first covers with Marek’s design is the cover with Depeche Mode (2001). It’s the first cover to use a white stripe as a background for the logo; until then, a logo positioned behind the head was used. It wasn’t unusual for only “R-EX” to be visible. Several covers were generously printed in five colours over the course of time. In 2006, Reflex was expanded to include the cultural insert “Ex”, which had its own logo that used the same typeface. The graphic design was created by Marek Pistora, who imprinted a unique character to the Ex insert, wholly in line with his signature style.


Reflex represents the category of geometrically constructed fonts, differentiating itself from similarly conceived fonts primarily by atypical, thin vertical serifs, often denoted as semi-serifs. A narrow rectangle forms the shaping grid and sets the unified width proportions of almost all letters. A high contrast and a vertical shadow axis lend the font an unusual character, which, together with diminished uppercases and short outstrokes, predetermine the use of the type primarily for display purposes.


It’s not usual for distinctive display typefaces to feature multiple language sets and to contain advanced OpenType features. Reflex is an exception, showing that modern fonts should not limit their users beforehand and so contains not only a wide range of diacritics, ligatures and fractions, but also a set of small caps with numerals. Challengeing the notion that a font family should comprise several weights, Reflex goes against the grain and instead offers five font widths, from the compressed Extra Condensed to the wide Extra Extended. Each width is also complemented with a slanted version, which com­pensates for the absence of true italics by a notable tilt of the characters. 

 

BC Reflex 1

 

Reflex was designed by a graphic design team, namely Pavel Beneš, Pavel Lev and Aleš Najbrt, for Reflex, a weekly magazine focusing on social, political and cultural commentary and issues that first went to print in 1990, shortly after the Velvet Revolution. The cover of Reflex magazine, design by Aleš Najbrt; 1990.

 

BC Reflex 2

 

The headlines of regular magazine columns were hand drawn in ink and were based on the logotype. The original ink dip pens drawings made by were re-typed each week into templates, based on which graphic designers then made pre-press preparations.

 

BC Reflex 3

 

Aleš Najbrt was a key figure at the magazine, simultaneously holding the posts of art director and editor-in-chief during the magazine’s formative years from 1990 to 1992.

 

BC Reflex 4

 

The layout of Reflex magazine designed by Aleš Najbrt in 1990–1992. During this period Aleš designed more than one hundred issues.

 

BC Reflex 5

 

As Marek Pistora is presently employed at Studio Najbrt, it is no coincidence that after many years, he and Aleš Najbrt joined up to digitalise the Reflex typeface. It is interesting that both designers returned to Reflex together.

 

BC Reflex 6

 

Othello Poster for the Kašpar theatre group, designed by Marek Pistora, Studio Najbrt. Marek proves that Reflex is a flexible font that can be shaped and adapted very well. Done using the newly digitised Briefcase Reflex font; 2013.

 

Design: Aleš Najbrt, Marek Pistora
Number of fonts in a family: 10 (Extra Condensed, Extra Condensed Italic, Condensed, Condensed Italic, Regular, Italic, Extended, Extended Italic, Extra Extended, Extra Extended Italic)
Number of glyphs per font: 596
Release date: 2014

 

OpenType Features:
Slashed Zero (zero)
Ligatures (liga)
Localized Forms (locl)
Case Sensitive Forms (case)
All Small Caps (c2sc)
Small Capitals (smcp)