Introducing Wola, a hand-writing font by Franciszek Otto

Pairing the elegancy of Bodoni with the expressiveness of hand-drawn forms, Franciszek Otto’s Wola typeface was inspired by the designer’s own fascination with lettering tools. Perfectly suited for those that want to create typographic contrast, Wola comes with an extensive character set that supports several languages, as well as ligatures and alternates.  

Wola blends Otto’s own love of hand-lettering with the undeniable charm of Bodoni – a typeface that has undergone a remarkable resurgence in recent years. Its roots are firmly in the cultural sphere, first created for printed publications designed by Otto for the District Museum in Bydgoszcz, Poland. 

The typeface was also inspired by the designer’s fascination with hand-lettering – something he’s been practicing since the start of his career, and now shares with others through workshops that emphasise the use of traditional calligraphy tools.

For many years I have been fascinated by typefaces based on the dynamic shape of letters written with various tools such as nib, marker, brush and pencil.

“For many years I have been fascinated by typefaces based on the dynamic shape of letters written with various tools such as nib, marker, brush and pencil,” says the designer. “Lately I have been interested in eyedropper-style fountain pens from the late 19th and early 20th century.”

Having acquired his own 110-year-old pen, Otto found a source of inspiration in the contrast between thick and thin lines that could be created with its elastic nib. It’s this he’s recreated with Wola, adding another dimension by blending it with some of Bodoni’s strict geometric character.

“Wola is based on this very slab serif, but its structure refers to hand-writing where geometry has been replaced by a lively and dynamic trace of the tool,” adds Otto, who has named Wola for the Warsaw district of the same name – where he also teaches typography.

The typeface embodies what Otto calls a “longing for hand-writing”, with the letterforms retaining an undeniable trace of the nib that, once upon a time, would have been used to create them.

The typeface embodies what Otto calls a “longing for hand-writing”, with the letterforms retaining an undeniable trace of the nib that, once upon a time, would have been used to create them. The designer hopes this juxtaposition is what breathes life into the serif – which he hopes to see used in packaging design, or press adverts. Beyond that, Otto also sees it as a companion face, forming a high contrast headline for short copy set at smaller sizes.

Get the Wola fonts

Wola by Franciszek Otto is included in the Monotype Library Subscription. Get unlimited access to over 10,000 fonts for $9.99/month. Try it for free.