Responses by Jan Fromm, freelance type and graphic designer.
Background: Nice was developed as a serif type system that provides a wide variety of expressive qualities and typographic tools. The typeface shows its strengths in editorial design; its four optical sizes allow it to be used from large, striking messages down to small body copy. Besides this, Nice can be used in almost all applications where a friendly, lively touch is desired—for example, advertising, packaging, fashion and branding.
Design thinking: Especially in today’s troubled times, a dash of optimism is more important than ever. Nice is built around the core of optimism. I wanted to infuse it with positive values. The three basic principles of clarity, legibility and liveliness guided me through the design process to make the typeface kind and comfortable to use.
Challenges: There are a lot of extensive font families out there that contain multiple optical sizes. For me, it was clear from the start that availability as a variable font—where users have access to the entire design space—would significantly enhance such a family. Making the many different elements neatly interpolative so that Nice could be variable was certainly the most challenging part of the project.
Favorite details: The many variants within the design space are based on the same skeleton. Nevertheless, the formal and expressive difference between Nice Poster (for large sizes) and Nice Micro (for small sizes) is enormous. In the Poster styles, the shapes are more closed, the contrast is very high and the serifs are pointed. The Micro styles, on the other hand, are very open, lower in contrast and equipped with strong serifs. It was essential to me to emphasize these differences as clearly as possible and still maintain the family’s coherence.
Visual influences: Nice contains some subtle references to the typefaces of the Baroque period, especially their warmth and vibrancy and their fluid, lively italics. However, Nice is anything but a revival. I toned down the opulent, formal richness of the Baroque models to make the typeface usable for contemporary, modern applications.
Specific project demands: During the development of Nice, I worked with an exclusive distributor for the first time. Fontwerk’s fundamental typographic expertise and technical knowledge helped me go through the long, difficult development process and get through to the end. I am pleased to see Nice in such good hands.