TheW first emerged as a single font in the Lab, our testing field for new ideas, and proved to be a big success. We can now proudly announce the inclusion of the extended TheW family in the official Fonts collection.
TheW Clan RZA is the first style in an upcoming series of various TheW Clan (Headline fonts). This monospaced font is accompanied by TheW NYC (Regular and Italic), a slightly tamed-down pair with standard proportional spacing for greater readability.
The style of TheW
TheW is an unique interpretation of the Didot genre. It revitalizes the conventional model with highly novel elements. Letters such as ‘C’, ‘O’ and ‘N’ follow the logic of a traditional Didot with straight serifs. Even the triangular top serif on the lowercase ‘l’ doesn’t deviate much from the historic rounded Didot. While the middle bar of ‘E’ is typically designed as a fine line with a triangular terminal, we transformed the black values of this letter part into a bare bold line. The ampersand (&) is designed completely outside a pen-derived logic of thick and thin strokes. It generates a contrast of its own, with an undogmatic weight distribution that simply works. ‘G’ is drawn in a rather brutalist fashion. Its pointed beard has just the right amount of black. The high center of ‘M’ is derived from monospaced typefaces and introduces a very special temper.
TheW NYC (text styles) were initially developed for Sport&Style magazine under the creative direction of designers Régis Tosetti and Simon Palmieri. We responded to their needs by creating a Didot variation that is very flexible — a conventional one would have been too mechanical. The condensed proportion as well as most serif endings of the uppercase letters were retained. For the use in text, it was crucial to establish the right rhythm within the lowercase. The ‘e’ became asymmetrical, breaking the verticality of a traditional Didot.
We kept the straight-line serifs at the bottom of the letters. For the top, however, we opted for triangular serifs. This further disrupts the linear effect of an old-school Didot. Some letters like ‘f’ were adjusted for greater readability. Simon and Régis asked for an italic, too, so we drew it. The outcome is a hybrid Didot-styled italic.
As a typeface for text, one might expect that TheW NYC featured a ‘g’ with a more conventional weight distribution. We preferred to maintain the unique placement of the black as seen in the monospaced style, though. Once this design decision was made, this maverick ‘g’ allowed us to apply a similar treatment to the figures ‘3’ and ‘5’, among other glyphs. Some letters in TheW were shaped solely by playfully pursuing a certain black value. This playfulness was integrated into the design logic of the typeface.
Régis Tosetti and Simon Palmieri redesigned the Sport&Style magazine in 2016. They had been approached by fashion director Pascal Monfort to rethink the design of the sports publication. Sport&Style is a monthly magazine published with the iconic French newspaper L’Équipe. It covers a mix of sport, fashion and luxury: it’s all about sport as seen from a fashion perspective, and fashion from a sport perspective.
Once they had found the right typographic voice with TheW as the font for the new logotype, Simon and Régis asked us to develop a text version with italics. We designed those typefaces for them with a certain period of exclusivity.
“Time constraints made this a very intense phase as we where designing the magazine at the same time as the fonts were developed. It was important to us to have a new and unique palette of fonts, to make our redesign most sustainable.” – Régis Tosetti, Simon Palmieri
We had a short talk with Régis Tosetti and Simon Palmieri, the Creative Directors fo the magazine.
What was the idea behind the redesign of the magazine?
We wanted to combine the best of both worlds, sport with elegant yet informative design. To do so we had to clean up content and structure and refresh the magazine with new contemporary typefaces and new layouts. We wanted to have a dynamic layout and give more importance to the text.
What led you to choose TheW and NewParis as the fonts for this project?
Sport&Style used to use the Didot typeface. TheW is a contemporary and radical update, and yet it shows some roots and plays with geometry. Using a monospaced font meant having a visual link to the subject of sports – it references chronometers and other technical aspects and, by extension, performance and speed.
Combining it with the sans-serif NewParis Skyline led to a desired clash and helped to structure the texts. Also, we thought it would be wise to add a font from the same foundry for greater stylistic consistency, and indeed some details in NewParis Skyline are related to those in TheW.
What are your influences in terms of editorial design and magazine culture?
Coming from a book editorial background, our influences stem from design, art, film and photography in equal measures.
The Swiss graphic design scene or avant-garde magazines such as The Face and Wired are also important influences and sources of inspiration to us. Living in a digital world, we often take impressions from digital applications and translate them into analogue prints, trying to build bridges.
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