Typeface of the Month: Study

XYZ Type

Author: Slanted editors

Although the technologies for producing type have become far more expedient, the techniques for designing type are essentially the same. While developing Study, our new Typeface of the Month published by XYZ Type, the key challenge was to combine the past and the present, to translate the warmth of a hand-painted specimen into cold, unforgiving vector outlines.

Study is a new serif type family with a strong personality and a fascinating history. The design blends elements of calligraphy and typography, with tension between soft outer shapes and angular counterforms. Dramatic forms draw attention at large sizes, yet become quiet in paragraphs of text. The typeface’s large counterforms and wide proportions make it extremely clear and readable without sacrificing style. Study is based on a concept rendered by Rudolph Ruzicka (1883–1978) in the book Studies in Type Design (1968) but never previously completed as a functioning font. Ruzicka’s signature aesthetic is at its peak in these lively letterforms, demonstrating his interest in Czech lettering and his skill as a wood engraver.

By creating Study, designer Jesse Ragan has completed Ruzicka’s unfinished typeface fifty years after it was first published, adapted to modern typography and technology. The original source material for Study existed as only a limited hand-painted alphabet, so a deep understanding of Ruzicka’s life and work helped Ragan find the design’s true voice. Over several years, he extensively researched the Czech-American designer and illustrator’s body of work, studying archives of unpublished drawings and correspondence.

In its final digital form, Study is a family of twelve font styles, each including small capitals, ligatures, fractions, and four kinds of numerals. The fonts are designed to work well in print and on screen, from large sizes down to text settings.

XYZ Type has also shared a detailed article about the history and process behind the typeface on their site, where you can also see the full Study family.


Foundry: XYZ Type
Designer: Jesse Ragan, Rudolph Ruzicka
Release: 2018
Format: Desktop, web, app
Weights: 7 weights in roman and italic
Price: From US$ 40,– per font style

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