Tourism Ireland uses a variety of typefaces in its visual identity. The most prominent is* Trinité Italic — more precisely, the Medium Italic №2 with extenders of medium length. The distinguished design by Bram de Does graces the tagline “Jump into Ireland”, the central element of the global campaign launched by Publicis in 2012.
But there’s something fishy going on, and I’m not talking about the lowered initial ‘I’. What’s up with the entry strokes of ‘u’, ‘m’, ‘p’? Is this really Trinité? Frank Grießhammer spotted a campaign poster in Paris with the French version “Vibrez au rythme de l’Irlande”, which exhibits more oddities. He comments: “This is just incredible. Who ON EARTH would use Trinité like a free font???? […] The V and y are from the Roman. The b is the construction of somebody insane. The z is from another typeface. This whole thing is SAD!” Albert-Jan Pool chimes in: “The ‘b’ in Vibrez is either stupid or ignorant, maybe even both […] At second thought, the ‘b’ seems to be a mirrored ‘d’ …”
And it doesn’t stop there: ‘J’ is bereft of its terminal. Instead of using a proper ‘u’, the ‘n’ has been turned upside-down. Likewise, ‘p’ is actually a rotated ‘d’. The ‘t’ is a complete reinvention featuring a longer ascender. The dot on the ‘i’ is lowered. The ‘o’ is probably taken from the Roman. It has been squeezed to match the narrowness of the Italic, but the wrong contrast axis still reveals the iniquity.
It almost looks as if the designers started out with “Ireland” and reused as many glyphs as possible, as if they had to pay per glyph. Trinité is not only regarded one of the most beautiful typefaces there is, but, at €281 per style, also one of the most expensive. This pricing policy has helped TEFF to preserve a certain exclusivity, and to keep its products out of the hand of novices and dabblers. It didn’t work here.
If you don’t like the design of one specific character, ask the foundry whether it could provide you with an alternate form. Especially if your rationale is sensible (e.g. the letterform in question is nonstandard) and the price is right, your chances are good. Most type makers will happily respond to the needs of their customers.
If you can’t stand the design of several characters, well, then pick another typeface! There are plenty of options. If you don’t know exactly what you are doing — if you lack experience in drawing letterforms, you probably don’t —, refrain from tampering with the font yourself. You are not going to make it any better. And for this particular case: Tinkering around with Trinité like this is akin to buying a bottle of Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve Whiskey, only to pour it into hot chocolate.
*) This rant was written some time ago, but never published. In the meantime, Tourism Ireland was redesigned. Now tourismireland.com uses Bree Serif with Open Sans (website by Strata3). The consumer-oriented ireland.com combines various styles of the Museo series (Slab, Italic, Sans, Sans Rounded) with Proxima Nova. Both branches use Formata for their respective logos. Trinité can still be found on the business-oriented meetinireland.com where it is paired with Raleway.
This makes me even sadder because today (January 4) is the date I heard about de Does’s death.