York design prof creates new Cardea contemporary typeface

The Cardea typeface
The Cardea typeface
The Cardea typeface

The California-based type foundry Emigre has added to its list of contemporary typeface designs with the release of Cardea, designed by York University Department of Design Professor David Cabianca. The Cardea family of type exhibits handcrafted classical traits combined with the freshness of contemporary features, making it both legible and, at the same time, cheeky and full of personality.

David Cabianca
David Cabianca

While based on traditional calligraphic marks (evident in the contrasting stroke widths in the heavier weights and the height variation in the “ff” ligature) it is distinctly modern in its attention to detail (generous x-height, sharp inktraps) and idiosyncratic touches (extended, truncated diagonal stroke in the lowercase “k” and the combination of heavy triangular serifs, in contrast to asymmetric horizontal serifs). These features provide ease in reading long passages of text set in smaller sizes but also contribute to a lively, spirited expression when set as headline text.

Cardea was originally designed in one style and was then extended to six styles – regular, bold and black, in both roman and italic versions. Each style contains 1,700 characters for a total of more than 10,000 characters that support more than 100 languages. Each style includes:

  • small caps
  • full accented characters
  • olstyle and lining numeral sets
  • ligatures
  • symbols
  • fractions
  • math symbols
  • alternate characters

Designing a text typeface is a detail-oriented exercise that requires vast amounts of dedicated time, reflection and multiple iterations as each new character and variation is added to the sets. Cardea is available for purchase online from Emigre type foundry.