A sans serif inspired by early geometric typefaces and the horizontal directionality of phototype text, yet designed to render immaculately on-screen and in print. This geometric sans owes a deep debt to Roger Excoffon’s 1962 typeface Antique Olive, as much as to contemporary interpretations of Paul Renner’s Futura, the near geometric rounded characters pinched and squeezed for readability.
Antique Olive’s S and s were indicative of brush track twists, having an overly large top story giving it the appearance of almost being upside-down. While many continue to question this move, as Antique Olive was meant to be the French contender for the sans serif crown being vied for by Univers and Helvetica and “failed” due to it’s strong personality, these strong nuances help convey a vivacity and liveliness missing from so much of contemporary sans serif type design. Excoffon’s idiosyncratic moves are mirrored in aspects of Kirimomi Sans – the scooped top of the lowercase i and j mirror their dotted elements; the whole face has a very large x-height; and terminals are sliced off, creating a distinctively sharp visual impression. The sliced serifs and terminals give the face a horizontal thrust that pushes readers’ eyes forward in lines of text.
Aspects of Kirimomi Geometric Sans veer wildly from these inspirational starting points: the lowercase a being double-storied, the optical “dazzle” of it’s predecessors toned down, and the entire typeface carefully kerned for optimum results in text setting. A number of alternate capitals and ligatures are included for the best possible results, including OpenType auto-substitution for all OpenType-enabled applications.
A number of pattern-making glyphs have been drawn and included in lieu of traditional typographic ornament within each of these fonts. Contemporary font technology allows the deployment of pattern elements in a regulated environment, allowing designers to control the amount of space in side bearings. When typeset and leading/line-height is adjusted, one can create smooth, even patterns, choose coloring and adjust scale quickly without having to resort to external files.
The Kirimomi font project was a set of free fonts sponsored by Onitsuka Tiger, and was later extended to include a full range of weights. It is no longer publicly available.