Fontwerk’s variable serif family Nice lives up to the friendliness and accessibility of its name
Balancing the extremes of its own architecture, Fontwerk’s contrasting serif family Nice is rife with typographic possibilities; with each of its four optical sizes and 56 styles harmonised for aesthetic and structural unity. Friendly, fresh-faced and nostalgic in tone, Nice visually lives up to its name and offers its users incredible practicality – available as a single variable font file in addition to its off-the-shelf weights.
“As a variable font where the design parameters can be infinitely combined,” Berlin-based type designer Jan Fromm tells us, “the user is given access to the entire design space which makes the already extensive font family even more flexible,” highlighting the exhaustive technicality of the typeface. “The whole design space of Nice is quite extensive,” Fromm explains, “it ranges from robust and open to graceful and closed shapes, and also from thin strokes to heavy stems,” calling on the expressive characteristics of the typeface’s baroque inspirations, whilst firmly cementing it as a contemporary and digitally-optimised.
Throughout the design process, Fromm established clarity, liveliness and legibility as the guiding motives and objectives behind the typeface, resulting in an expertly suitable typeface primed for any and all scales and applications. Be it the efficient and emphasised serifs of Nice’s Micro style, optimised for small text, or the emboldened features of its Poster counterpart, the type family accomplishes an equilibrium of versatility and friendliness – rife with architectural quirks across its welcoming letterforms.
Discussing the typeface’s name with Fontwerk’s Founder Ivo Gabrowitsch, he remarks, “typically when naming a font; you are trying to tell a story or give a hint about the design idea or intended use,” however, they found themselves opting for a different route this time around. “Here, we took some of the most characteristic characters (e.g. M/N, W/V, E/F, k, g, i, c, e) and tried to find a suitable name from them,” Gabrowitsch explains. “When we then saw ‘Nice’ in front of us, it immediately seemed to us to fit the approach,” he adds, also mirroring the friendliness and accessibility of the typeface itself. “Especially when combined with the names of the optical sizes (e.g. ‘Nice Poster’ or ‘Nice Text’),” Gabrowitsch concludes, “we found it to be a very ‘nice’ gimmick.”