Zaft² is a spaghetti chugging, frontier focused evolution of the previous system, released back in 2019. The original Zaft was a weighty titling boldface, donning bulky and sharp slab serifs built upon its clinically precise grid. Geometric precision was an essential feature as it is for the newer Zaft² system, however amongst this ridged framework was a new found taste for badly dubbed western flicks and Acapulco Gold.
Similar to the wave of advertising display types which swept over industrialised nations in the 19th century, Zaft² follows suit by emphasising a reverse stroke contrast and condensing in width to pack a message into a tight space. This genre, popularised by the eccentric French Clarendon typeface (1821?), served as a parody of the common Didone types of the period – at odds with Newton’s law of gravity to create a breed off-kilter enigmas, bound to catch the eye based on their novelty alone. As time progressed, this genre became increasingly associated with the Wild West due to it’s usage across the American frontier in the 19th century, compounded further by the rise of the heavily romanticised and stereotyped Wild West genre which later developed in the 20th century.
Zaft² follows a similar trajectory into the pastiched expanses of the old frontier, albeit with a foot grounded firmly within geometric modernism. Its compact forms are rigid and tight yet its austerity is nicely counterbalanced by soft rounded corners to strike a playful harmony. A unique feature of Zaft² is the use of contextual alternatives which allow for a more compact fit. This feature seamlessly swaps in un-serifed alternatives where applicable to achieve a tighter word-image - perfect for setting titles in small spaces!
To drag the ’Old West’ kicking and screaming into the ’New World’, Zaft² utilises variable font technology to hand over a greater level of customisation. The family comes in 3 separate variable fonts which each offer a unique axis of control. Variable A allows you to shift the weight from bottom heavy to top. Variable B affects the symmetry of the serif whilst Variable C controls something else. The full family comes complete with all 3 variable fonts as well as 7 individual static font files. Language support covers the majority of Latin language unicode ranges.
A massive thank you is due to the type designer Céline Hurka who very kindly collaborated with me on this from the outset, developing and expanding the typeface out from a very rough initial draft. Credit is also due to the type designer Rutherford Craze who very kindly offered to help creating and finessing all the complicated feature code crucial to the functioning of the typeface.
Case Sensitive Forms
Feature Code by Rutherford Craze