Freya Typeface Analysis and Croppings

Released in 2010 Freya is a serif typeface designed by Saku Heinänen. It comes in four weights that are intended to be set at text sizes. The designer has recently completed Freya Display for larger applications (1).

The Village website frames Freya’s proportions as “located somewhere between classical and post-modern (2).” While this is accurate I think is useful to break such a statement down further because it is not that the face simply falls firmly in one place between the two poles but rather that different elements of the face draw from the different eras to create something of this time.

Freya’s serifs are particularly interesting for instance. They are asymmetrical, alternating between tight curves on the one hand and angles on the other. It is a “postmodern” and dynamic touch and though the curves themselves are not so far from what we see in transitional faces I find the structural reference of the face is more oldstyle. The designer himself cites fonts as diverse as Matthew Carter’s Galliard, Monotype Plantin and Petr van Blokland’s Proforma as the faces he might have been inspired by; there is no single or direct model he worked from (3).

The finials seem to have a strong attack in the degree to which the full width of the stroke diminishes. And the angle at which the stroke exits the curve from the bowl also happens quickly. Freya is deceptive like that trickster Loki when the face moves quickly from being an “all-round serif face, useful in many situations” to being asymmetrical and playful (4). And, yet, it must also be said that the playfulness is understated. The face never feels schizophrenic, and at smaller sizes many of the clever details are no longer noticeable to the casual reader.

Overall the face is very stable and easy to read. The x-height feels current and yet not overly large. Freya is a typeface that could be used to set a large body of text, but it would shine if the playful details were made apparent through the typography as well.

Crops (revised):

(3) Personal correspondence (September 29, 2011)

{ Oct 9, 2011    4 Assignment 1   

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