Preview: Bliss, an Enigma on a Blue Island?
1 June 1999
Jeremy Tankard has been behind some of the most recognisable typefaces of the 1990s, including FF Disturbance, which mixed upper- and lowercase forms, and Bliss. Tankard's work has been used widely in advertisements and product branding, and he is a sought-after designer of custom typefaces. This year will see at least two Tankard designs released: Blue Island (through Adobe Originals); and Enigma (to be sold through his own foundry, Jeremy Tankard Typography, along with Bliss).
Blue Island, which took three years of design and development, is a typeface made up of ligatures, based on the principle that readers recognize words and not letters. However, Blue Island retains its legibility while providing a distinctive character to headlines set using the typeface. Enigma, meanwhile, is more traditional although plays with the established structures of serif type, providing text with an attractive yet semi-formal appearance.
Tankard did not set out to be a type designer. â€œWhen I started looking at type with the interest of designing, I was in my final year at college. My thesis was odd; a collection of thoughts. The typeface used was the first version of what became Disturbance - based on Bradbury Thompson's ideas and his Alphabet 26, but addressing some legibility problems that occurred in his design. (The 'Future' section) was a very free-form scrapbook of my ideas and questions exploring geometry, layout, theatre and so on. Again set in the precursor of Disturbance.
I was told by my tutors (the graphics ones, not the thesis ones) that â€œYou can't do this to the alphabet. It's ugly. There are reasons for things being the way they are. It's disturbing.â€ Bingo, I had a name for the typeface!