The website for GT Flexa is wondrous; enormous animations, pitch-perfect typesetting, and with writing that doesn’t make me want to walk into the nearest ocean. The combination of these things shows just how much laser-like focus was trained on these letters but they also tell a galloping story about how the designers wanted their typeface to be as flexible as possible:
Using an Italic? That’s so 2019! 2020 is all about half-Italics and quarter-Italics. Your Italics can be animated, bounce, and jigger: they are yours to play with.
This reminds me that each of Grilli Type’s typefaces have dashing websites and they always tend to make me blush with righteous envy. Like right now, where I’ve spent the last hour or so flipping through each of them and finding so many inspiring things had somehow slipped by. Like the charming website-as-essay for GT Eesti which I had never seen before. Or perhaps I had merely forgotten about it because it made me mad with jealously. Because of course it happens to be chock full of animated illustrations and damn fine typography.
The lovely thing about these websites though is that they’re not marketing gimmicks, they’re not tricks. Okay, yes, they are trying to sell you fonts but they also do more than that when they teach us something without all of the seriousness and toxic masculinity that the field is rife with. Check the origins page for example, where the team gathered a bunch of inspirational material as they were doing their research:
Oh and then there’s the website for GT Super (which proves my theory that a website is a secret essay and those that embrace that fact are the only good websites out there). This website for GT Super walks us through why the team designed this typeface and how the project began.
I love reading design material like this because of how earnest it feels.
And the reason why I keep harping on about this stuff is because it’s so gosh darn common to find writing about typography that is…uhhh…umm…well, let’s be snobbish and say that there might be one or two opportunities for improvement. But with the Grilli Type websites, everything that they have to say about the subject is worth reading. They’re not talking about a typeface as if it was an ancient relic dug out of a tomb that has forever changed the way we X about Y. Instead, the websites have that sort of clunky humanity to them which I so admire. There’s a childish glee in the writing, a form of diamond-like humility, and that’s just as inspiring to me as the letterforms themselves.
So: down with all the seriousness! And let fonts be fonts.
But there’s been this question on my mind lately that I think these websites answer: why can’t we write about typography and design with a little flourish, a little charm? Words don’t have to be so yaaaawn, where was I? Ah yes, these Romantic letterforms are inspired by libertarian Brutalist echo-architecture informed by the glacial magnificence of the Greek-Persian-Franco Empire in the 57th century in the worst economic…nah! Stop it with all that and calm down, dear. This is not a philosophy class where we’re all trying to outwit each other with the sheer overwhelming force of our references and the endless line of dull books that line our shelves.
Instead, what if we took everything less seriously? What if we gave ourselves permission to be weird and do jokes and just look at all these cool fonts together? Or perhaps California has invaded my personality now and at this point all I want to do is talk about TikTok and kickflips and hanging ten.
Peace to all of you, my coolest comrades.
✌️ Robin “Surf’s Up” Rendle