Sociotype Journal’s maiden issue reinvents the type specimen as an elegant editorial experience
Looking to take their type specimens to another level, Sociotype – from London-based creative studio Socio – have launched the Sociotype Journal; a magazine dedicated to showcasing their typefaces as well as exploring a theme specific to each issue. Calling upon their network of partners, collaborators, connections and creatives, Sociotype Journal houses unique stories, articles, imagery and explorations, in an effort to challenge what is expected of both a type specimen and a type foundry.
“We felt that the best way to understand a typeface,” Editor and Creative Director Nic Carter tells us, recalling the desire to avoid the content of a typical type specimen, “particularly an extended family like Gestura, is to see it in use,” where it can be of service beyond the function to showcase the typeface itself. “The Journal is our attempt to create a more realistic context for the reader,” Carter adds, “we think it’s a better showcase of the type because it allows readers to engage with the type as they would in an everyday context,” again serving as something both functional and engaging.
Achieving both these aims involved tactile consideration and external collaboration, including a continuation of the long-term partnership between the studio and writer Henrietta Thompson. “Henrietta’s been a regular collaborator of ours for a number of years,” Carter remarks, having developed the tone of voice and messaging on many of Socio’s projects. “She’s an experienced journalist and editor, so it was a natural step to ask her to help out here too,” he adds. Further collaborations included working with the type designers behind the foundry’s two launch typefaces – Diana Ovezea and Franziska Weitgruber. “There’s simply no way we could have created either type family without them,” Carter tells us.
For its maiden issue, the Journal looks towards ‘The Gesture’ as its running theme, inspired by the importance our hands play in conversation, explanation and communication – covering discourse from the secret signals of Easyjet’s flight attendants and David Shrigley’s sculptural thumbs, to Churchill’s V’s and NASA’s VR mittens. The theme found its origins in the focal point of the issue – Sociotype’s Gestura – led by the underlying calligraphic influence of its construction. “Gestura pointed to a theme of gestural, non-verbal communication,” Carter explains, “we spent some time researching each theme, and where certain things stood out as having greater depth or originality,” he adds.
With such a diverse range of editorial styles at play, Carter raises the question of reader interaction. “Perhaps some articles will prompt readers to do their own research?” he remarks, hoping to at least provide thought-provoking discourse. “That comes back to the whole concept of the Journal as a type specimen,” he concludes, “we hope the Journal can provide an active reading experience, rather than a passive one.”