Alex Girón’s Neography is a perfect example of how a typeface alone can distinguish a layout. The content types are no different from any designer’s personal site — blog posts, photos, links, a portfolio — but these pages feel fresh. The well considered grid is obvious, even modernist in places, but Girón eschews the expected Helvetica for an old style serif, and an underused one at that. Calluna (2009) appears older than it is, partly because of its angled ‘e’, a nod to Venetians.
We can thank the recent webfont breakthroughs for Neography’s use of Calluna, served by Typekit. Otherwise it would one of the few dull serifs installed on our computers. (Though Coudal has proven you can still do good things with Times.) Text is in Neue Helvetica — Calluna isn’t optimized for web text yet. The only piece that feels out of place is Museo Sans for other labels. It seems unnecessary when Helv would do. Even better, I’d love to see Girón take the humanist approach all the way and replace those with the newly released Calluna Sans.
And now for a welcome detail that goes unnoticed: Girón uses Calluna Bold for main titles but wisely shifts down to Semi Bold for subheads. This move is imperceptible but important to Mac users (likely Girón’s main audience) because OS X’s Quartz antialiasing tends to add a few pixels of weight to fonts of any size, especially when type is white on black. The harmonious effect is that H1s and H2s are optically the same weight and Calluna’s smallish counters are never clogged.