This text was first published in 2007 in the type specimen booklet for Malaga. Why do we need another typeface? This is a prickly question often asked of typeface designers. Depending on who you ask, the answer in simplified form is usually one of two: 1. As the basis of written communication, type design carries social responsibility, so we must continue to improve legibility. 2. Type design is a form of artistic expression. Without art, life is not worth living. The best work, of course, accomplishes both. Xavier Dupré, the designer of the Malaga typeface family, has at least one leg securely planted in the latter notion. He believes, like others, that within typeface design most legibility needs have been worked out and that today we are satisfying aesthetic desires. We design typefaces to differentiate our communications. Type design is primarily a formal exercise reflecting our personal quirks, technological obsessions, and cultural heritage. In case of Dupré’s work, issues of cultural heritage and personal quirks are of particular consequence. An incessant traveler, he visited the following countries during the development of the Malaga type family: Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, France, Belgium, and finally, Spain, where his choice for the name Malaga originates (Malaga is a port city in southern Spain). Dupré’s home is where his laptop is. He travels with a 12- or 15 inch PowerBook, without a printer, and with sporadic access to his reference books and other historical documents. All he needs is a table and chair. He even learned to design without a mouse since hotel and cafe tables are often too small to also fit a mousepad. Dupré is the new global designer who can take disparate influences and fluidly process the information into a coherent whole. Malaga is a case in point. It is inspired by ideas ranging from blackletter to Latin fonts, and from the Quattrocento’s first Venetian antiquas to brush stroke types. This makes Malaga a richly animated font saturated with unorthodox detail. Its black and bold weights are particularly suited for headlines and short texts, while the subtle modulation and moderate contrast in the regular and medium weights makes it perfectly readable in extended text settings. While Malaga doesn’t claim to resolve any particular legibility issues, it is nonetheless perfectly readable and will impart any design with a healthy dose of visual character.
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