A sweeping collection of 32 sans serifs, Knockout restores some much-needed vitality to an overlooked corner of the typographic spectrum.The organization of typefaces by weight and width may be one of Modernism’s great gifts to typography, but the expectation that fonts should cohere to some prefabricated schedule of styles is one of its greatest fallacies. Demanding that every typeface march to the drumbeat of roman, italic, bold, bold italic is an arbitrary imposition on a naturally diverse world; in other professions, this kind of universalist thinking gives us brutalist worker housing, or prairies planted with monocultures. Knockout defies the Modernist canon, in order to reclaim one of typography’s great natural wildernesses: the American sans serif.For more than a century before Helvetica, the sans serif landscape was dominated by unrelated designs. Gothic woodtypes in a dazzling array of proportions lived comfortably alongside anonymous foundry types, each design’s integrity the product of its autonomy. Because none of these faces were intended to relate to one another, none of their design characteristics were beholden to any external constraints: what worked for a supercondensed boldface need only work for that design, not also for the extrawide light face whose design afforded different possibilities and faced different challenges.
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