This weekend I fell into a Pyte Foundry shaped rabbit hole, trawling through everything that Ellmer Stefan has ever made. For the last few hours I’ve been excavating the weirdest of wonders in the dark, and now I’m thoroughly stuck. What lured me into this hole was Kinckq, a typeface that Ellmer describes as “a digital reanimation of a unique brainchild emerging from the pantographically distorted minds of North American wood type manufacturers.”
Here’s what those words mean in practice:
Incredible. Kinckq is a variable font too, which allows you to bend the letters at the midway point either left or right. Equal parts shocking and alluring, Kinckq hopes to trip you up at every turn. “Oh you like that beautiful 5, huh?” I hear this typeface say…
“Well take a look at this, you nerd!”
Kinckq is designed to swoon and then intimidate, throwing you off at the last second. Just as you think you know where it’s going, it turns around, does a kick flip, and then scurries away into the dark. For example, I love how you can use these disjointed glyphs to create borders as shown in this specimen…
Way back in 2017, Frank Griesshammer eloquently described Kinckq as “similar to Bodoni — but folded in half.” That makes Kinckq sound delicate, easily shaped like origami, but I would more likely compare Kinckq to a drawer full of knives or something.
Ellmer describes the historical roots of this typeface:
With the advent of new typographic duties and the increasing aesthetic pressure by lithographic printers, the type manufacturers of the first half of the 19th century had no shame in literally breaking the rules of good typographic taste. Around 1838 George Nesbitt of New York introduces a peculiar specimen of this cheeky behaviour; Roman Grotesque is a design of the Fatface genre severely fractured mid-cap-height. The idea behind this design is as simple as it is bizarre, yet it is not obvious where to place this bastard.
Ellmer started work on Kinckq back in 2016 when, each Monday, he would publish a brand new typeface available free of charge. But they had a half life: these fonts would disappear after a week. So it’s nice to see that Kinckq eventually made it’s way into an official release and yet I am somewhat sad that I can’t download all of these glorious fonts:
It looks like you can email Ellmer to get the back catalogue and some of the other fonts made it into an official release, like Pyte Legacy which is a collection of three fonts, Pyte Legacy Vulture being my favorite of the bunch.
It’s a reverse-stressed, monstrously beautiful thing. And it has the single best letter I’ve ever seen. Okay, I say that every week but this time I mean it. Are you ready? Please make sure to scroll only once you’re sat down and strapped into whatever chair you find nearby.
Because holy mother of fonts, this capital letter K is a real doozy:
Gorgeous! And yes, that’s the right way up. But not all of Ellmer’s typefaces are quite so punk rock. Take Triptych Roman, Italick, and Grotesque which are noticeably quiet, although absolutely anything but boring.
I love the lowercase a with the peak of its cap a smidge thicker than other parts, likewise with the dot of the lowercase i. The bold Grotesque variant also has this square-jaw thing going on in some letters that gives the typeface a handsome kick:
What is it with lowercase a’s that gives type designers license to be so weird? Anyway, now that I have cursed you with these letterforms from the Pyte Foundry I hope to slowly climb out of this rabbit hole by next week.
Actually…I think I might just stay here a while longer.