Sabina Chipară’s ornamental Rosella design draws on a long tradition of decorative typefaces, borrowing the elegance and intricacy of engraved letterforms, and lending them a contemporary twist – informed by her time as a graphic designer.
The typeface is named for the Rosella bird – a parrot adorned with striking plumage. It draws on both the heritage of the Engravers typeface – a turn-of-the-century design in the tradition of popular styles of engraved lettering found at the end of the 19th century – and Chipară’s experience as a graphic designer.
Rosella was created over the course of six months, during an internship at Monotype when Chipară had the opportunity of visiting the archive. While there, a version of Engravers caught her eye and she had the first spark of an idea – to create a contemporary decorative typeface.
“I wanted to make something more modern, and with not such edgy cuts as Engravers has in the design of the letters, but more soft and a bit more elegant,” she explains. “I thought it would be nice to combine all of these patterns and make more combinations.”
Rosella offers six weights, including a solid version and five different patterns. Each of these can be used on their own, or paired with one another to create intricate combinations.
“It’s really versatile,” adds the designer, who runs her own studio, Acute, in Amsterdam with Diana Ovezea. “You can do a lot of mix-and-match, and see what fits the voice you want to give it.”
The typeface is really versatile. You can do a lot of mix-and-match, and see what fits the voice you want to give it.
Chipară has adapted both letterforms and patterns to work seamlessly together, ensuring the shape and proportion of each character doesn’t compromise the details of her decorative designs. Her approach has been informed by time spent as a graphic designer, creating labels for various products – which often meant time sent searching for adaptable typefaces that went beyond just a basic grotesque.
Typographic tradition has also crept in, in the form of several different manicules, as well as card deck symbols – adding to the design’s playful character. The all-caps typeface feels tailor-made for book covers, but also comes to life at especially large sizes, which emphasise its detailing even further.
Rosella’s exuberance offers a quirky alternative to the quieter, more restrained sans serifs that dominate the type market.
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