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Poppy Thaxter
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Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans


Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans
Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans

Quaria marks the fourth release in René Bieder’s ongoing release schedule, as the Berlin-based type designer honours his commitment of releasing a complete typeface each month for eight months. A modern hybrid, the family’s DNA draws from a rich pool of typographic elements from the last 200 years without dedicating itself to any specific era. “How do you combine the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans serif?” he asks. With Quaria’s release, Bieder delivers the answer. Saying that, getting there wasn’t easy. “Finding the right balance took three years,” the type designer recalls. 

Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans
Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans
Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans

It all started with a bold cap ‘A,’ posted on his Instagram page in August 2019. “At the time,” he explains, “I thought I’d be done with it in 2019. Actually, not that much has changed, to be honest. The soft serifs have remained and so has the robust character. What I have had a hard time with though were the light styles. Also, how much of the serifs should be kept? Should it become a hybrid, changing from sans serif to a typeface with serifs? How robust should the stroke contrast be?” 

Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans
Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans
Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans

The difference between the Display and Text versions is striking to the eye. “No surprise,” he notes, “the differences are in the stroke contrast and the spacing, two major aspects when designing a text typeface. I thought for a long time about how high the stroke contrast should be, and whether two versions are necessary at all, but then decided on the additional Display version, because it brings a bit more elegance to the layout.”

Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans
Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans
Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans

The name ‘Quaria’ is derived from the family’s major starting point; the book covers found in an Antiquariat (traditional European bookshops). The idea was sparked by a particularly nice one that featured on Bieder’s bike ride to the office. In these spaces, epochs collide, opposites are united and knowledge is exchanged.

Continuing the tradition of inviting a design studio to create an accompanying poster to mark the launch of the typeface, Bieder’s choice of Two Times Elliott were keen to explore the Antiquariat concept further and how it can be interpreted in contemporary contexts.

They write:

“V What is the Meaning? E: That There is No Meaning.

Something is uncanny about the above excerpt from the viral YouTube video, “Two Robots Talking to Each Other, Gone Wrong.” The video records two Amazon Alexas named Vladimir and Estragon, as their chaotic conversation pivots between innocuous babble, scary existentialism, and theological rhetoric. The innate pursuit of meaning is a defining feature of human beings. It contributes to a quality of consciousness which distinguishes us from animals and machines. With each passing software update, Artificial Intelligence integrates more deeply into our lives. As it advances exponentially, we contemplate the likelihood of conscious A.I. and its implications on what it means to be human.

Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans
Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans
Studio René Bieder’s Quaria combines the elegance of a serif typeface with the robustness of a sans

Historically, these spaces served as platforms for the co-creation of meaning, through free and open conversation. Today, the internet has replaced the Antiquariat, and A.I. in the form of search engines, chatbots, Alexa and Siri both support and mediate public communication spaces.

However, as Big Tech implements corporate policy governing A.I. speech and thought, they change the nature of our human conversations too. How will the private decisions of the few, about how to set parameters on A.I. discourse, impact humanity's ability to make sense of important subjects like values, rights, identity, and ethics?” 

The limited edition poster was printed with Pantone Silver C on Colorplan Bitter Chocolate 135gsm. It is available for free alongside the purchase of a full family licence of Quaria. If you’d like one once your order is placed, please email your receipt and contact details to [email protected].