When letterpress started with the Gutenberg bible, the typeface was like a texture. Before humanism type did not really need to be legible. The letters were rather drawn in an ornamental way. It filled a space. My idea for Matrona was to create a similar structure. I wanted it to be very bold and still as legible as possible. The result was a headline typeface that can fill almost all the space. You can even fill it with a picture. Or you create an ornament with contents.
Matrona comes in three optical sizes, with slightly less delicate counters and notches for the smaller styles. In some regards, like the hefty weight and the common height of uppercase and lowercase glyphs, it reminds me of Jeremy Tankard’s Shire Types. While Matrona is a biform face, i.e. with two distinct forms at least for some letters, the Shire Types are unicase: The five different yet related members all have a single form for each letter. Matrona maximizes the reduction of the white, without becoming blocky like Fit or Assai.
In memory of Tony Allen who died in Paris on 30 April 2020, aged 79.
1 Comment on “Tony Allen – The Source album art”
See also the album art for Black Voices from 1999, which likewise uses a very black typeface with minimal counters: