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Backstage with Editorial New’s Mat Desjardins and Francesca Bolognini
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Backstage with Editorial New’s Mat Desjardins and Francesca Bolognini

Article by Studio Ground Floor

Pangram Pangram’s Founder Mat Desjardins, and prolific type designer Francesca Bolognini, on designing Editorial New, Editorial Old, and the joy of proper italics.

author=Studio Ground Floor% authorlink= fonts=editorial-new%

Welcome back to backstage. The series where we dive into the ins and outs of the behind-the-scenes of designing typefaces. And this time, the focus is on a Pangram favourite, Editorial New.

It really does seem to pop up everywhere – from small indie publications (feat. a shameful plug to our own self-published endeavour) and premiere magazine titles to fashion giants and sportswear juggernauts. At its core, Editorial New is an elementary, narrow, serif – perhaps with a slight retro 90s font feel. However, it truly seems to have flown beyond the confines of its letterforms, having struck a chord at the core of the contemporary design scene, favoured by students and creative directors alike. From the elegance of the lighter weights, to the indulgent curves of the heavier weights, Editorial New has almost too much to give!

But where did this powerhouse of a typeface come from? Well, we’ve chatted to the dynamic duo Mat and Francesca about Editorial New’s storied history and the exciting future that lays ahead for it…

Hey Mat and Francesca! How are you both doing?

Mat: I’m doing great! Just fresh off the Holidays!

Francesca: Hi! Happy new year, all is good!

Mat, as the founder of Pangram Pangram, you’re involved in everything from the business side and the vision of the foundry to designing the typefaces themselves. How do you strike this balance, and how has it evolved as Pangram has evolved?

M: It’s exactly about that; Balance. Doing everything mostly by myself as the Foundry was growing was definitely a balancing act but I think the key was to stay focused on the goals and make sure I kept creating and getting inspired rather than getting too lost in all the administrative layers. The design and creation part of the foundry has always been the number 1 priority for me.

Onto Editorial New! Simply put, it’s an absolute fan favourite. Versatile but recognisable, genuinely elegant but equally sturdy, refined as body copy but personality-full as a headline — its flexibility has clearly struck a chord with designers! What was the inspiration behind it? How did you start drawing it?

M: The original goal was simple: I wanted to create a super versatile, slightly retro serif. Something inspired by the 1980s ads with the likes of Garamond and other curvy, generally tightly-spaced serifs. This was the base for it and it grew into something of its own shortly after drawing a few letters!

Were there any key turning points in the development of the typeface? Moments where you felt like everything fell into place? Or was it more of a gradual process?

M: I’d say a lot of typefaces I design are a gradual process. They rarely end up the way I imagined them at first. The process generally takes some time and since I continuously try to stay inspired, there are always new ideas coming in during the journey. That being said, I think that when the basic set of the Thin Master was done, I really felt good about the complete type and its potential!

Hey Francesca! One thing about typefaces is that they’re never really done — Type Designers constantly seem to rework and improve them. For Editorial New’s 2.0 version, how did you refine the typeface, and what improvements would designers see when they use it?

F: My main focus has been on the rebalance of weights & proportions, especially in the darker instances. These corrections are something that one can easily spot. However, other minor refinements wouldn’t be visible to a non-type designer’s eye but improve the font’s general comfort.

You also worked on the italics for Editorial New; how does that drawing process differ from drawing the uprights for a serif?

F: I love drawing italics, it comes naturally to me, and I have fun with it. That is one of the first significant and personal differences. There are many kinds of italics also, and a True Serif Italic is what I love to draw most. True italics means not just slant — the construction of the letter changes entirely from the upright.

How do you find the process of developing and refining a typeface that already exists in some form? Does the process differ from when you design one yourself from scratch?

F: First of all, my interventions were in conversation with Mat. Before making the changes, we review them together. Editorial New was already very successful; our focus was to improve the font to the maximum while respecting its design. In revising an existing font, I use much of my experience as a type designer and less of my creativity. While designing the italics, I could express both.

And back to you, Mat! If you were pairing Editorial New with another typeface, what style would you use, and what typeface would you pair it with?

M: Well, the obvious answer is a nice Grotesk font, something like Neue Montreal, haha! But, obvious aside, Editorial New was made to be very versatile like I mentioned earlier so pairing really depends if you use it as a headline or a body text. I think it goes really well with fonts with cleaner lines, like a geometric or a more subtle sans. On the other hand, I feel it could go with a crazy cursive font but maybe that’s just me!

A simple but necessary one — what’s your favourite glyph in Editorial New?

M: Ouhhhh tough one! If I had to choose one I think it would be the lowercase k. I think it encapsulates the personality of Editorial New super well and the fact that it’s disconnected adds to the tension.

F: I am very much in love with the italic ‘v’.

And finally, what’s next for Editorial New? We’ve heard whispers about an Editorial Old on the horizon… can we get a sneak peek?

M: Yessss! The idea behind Editorial Old is to create a version where the New feeling has been eroded and washed with the passing of time. A sort of homage to the retro part of Editorial New. Giving it more organic and fluid almost melted curves and ligatures.

This gives us a whole new typeface with a completely unique personality. Here’s a little sneak peek but it should arrive at Pangram Pangram very soon! Can’t wait to release this one.

PP Editorial New is available to try fo free

Commercial licenses are also available, starting at $30.