Arsenica Font is a serif typeface designed by Francesco Canovaro for Zetafonts, and developed by a design team including Mario De Libero, Andrea Tartarelli and Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini.
The design of Arsenica takes its inspiration from Italian poster design at the beginning of the century, a time where typography, lettering and illustration where closely interwoven. Dawning nationalist movements, rather than using the modernist language, pushed on traditional Old Style letterforms often imbued with Art Nouveau and Deco sensibility. Artists like Giorgio Muggiani not only illustrated posters for Cinzano, Pirelli and Rinascente, but also provided logo design for newspapers, like “Il Popolo d’Italia”.
Starting from this mix of eclectic influences, Canovaro first developed the Arsenica Antiqua family, designed as display typeface that keeps the original Old Style low-contrast, wide proportions and quirky stylistic inventions. These where then distilled in a high contrast, Arsenica Display family, expanding the weight range to include both poster, ultra-bold weights and lighter weights that give the design a distinct calligraphic flavour. Bringing the letterforms into contemporary taste meant also developing alternate letterforms that were included in the Arsenica Alternate family, that drops the art nouveau details in favour of a more controlled modern serif aesthetic. Finally, Arsenica Text was developed by expanding the design space in the optical size axis, creating a low contrast, strongly readable old style typeface family, with a reduced weight set, oriented for long body copy typesetting.
The final result is a superfamily of 41 weights, covering the design space with an expanded charset of over 900 glyphs, with full coverage of over 200 languages using latin and Cyrillic alphabets. All the weights of Arsenica come with a full set of open type features allowing to explore its vintage-inspired visual inventions thanks to stylistic sets, discretionary ligatures, contextual alternates and positional numbers. Two variable typefaces are included in the full family, allowing you to explore the design space and precisely control not only the weight but also the optical size design variations.
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