Herb

Based on 16th century cursive broken scripts and printing types, the idea for Herb was to develop a typeface that has the positive properties of blackletter but does not evoke the same negative connotations – a type that has the complex, humane character of fraktur without looking conservative, aggressive or intolerant. By Just Another Foundry.

Herb is based on 16th century cursive broken scripts and printing types. Originally designed by Tim Ahrens in the MA Typeface Design course at the University of Reading, it was further refined and extended in 2010.

The idea for Herb was to develop a typeface that has the positive properties of blackletter but does not evoke the same negative connotations – a type that has the complex, humane character of fraktur without looking conservative, aggressive or intolerant.

As Rudolf Koch illustrated, roman type appears as timeless, noble and sophisticated. Fraktur, on the other hand, has different qualities: it is displayed as unpretentious, friendly and ‘cosy’ (Fig. 1).

…a type that has the complex, humane character of fraktur without looking conservative, aggressive or intolerant.

After reading a text set in fraktur for a while, many readers would find it surprisingly legible and comfortable to read. Switching back to roman type might make one feel even uncomfortable – the Latin letters feel almost cold, emotionless and rational in a negative sense, and also too linear and somewhat too thin, like a skeleton with not enough articulated flesh on it.

Introducing qualities of blackletter into roman typefaces has become popular in recent years. The sources of inspiration range from rotunda to textura and fraktur. In order to achieve a unique style, other kinds of blackletter were used as a source for Herb.

One class of broken script that has never been implemented as printing fonts is the gothic cursive. Since fraktur type hardly ever has an ‘italic’ companion like roman types few people even know that cursive blackletter exists. The only type of cursive broken script that has gained a certain awareness level is civilité, which was a popular printing type in the 16th century, especially in the Netherlands. Further examples of cursive broken script can be found in German medieval and renaissance manuscripts and prints (Fig. 2–5). These letter shapes look very original and novel but on the other hand not unconventional or made-up. Perhaps it can be felt that they have developed over centuries, and the dynamic of these ancient writings appear anything but old-fashioned.

Source: justanotherfoundry.com