The creation of Knif mono started in July 2015, when Axel Pelletanche-Thévenart began to work under the direction of Guillaume Grall and Benoît Santiard, the duo behind the French graphic design studio Building Paris. The three of them were aiming for a monospaced font that would have very pointy serifs, with a sharp and brutal look.A few months later, I helped them finishing the font, which meant refining slightly the shapes and completing the character set. Below is one of the feedback sheets I submitted to Axel for some adujstments.
The first line is the original version that Axel and Buidling Paris came up with, and the second line is the final version. Some capitals like P and R had a soft Renaissance look that we decided to change for more strong shapes. Some others, like M and H, have been made more narrow so that we could make the outside serifs longer.
In the first version, the bottom serifs of capitals were shorter than the top ones, and we decided to make then more even to increase the sharp style of the overall typeface. This gave also more balance to each letter.(The capital I remained the same from the beggining, but I added it at the end of the line because it is just too beautiful T_T)
The letter that gave us the more trouble is capital Q. Here is a feedback sheet from Buiding Paris, giving some ideas to improve it, and the 4 different versions we tried until we agreed on this blade shape that goes well with the similar shape of the R and K.
We released the Knif mono roman on “A is for…” in November 2016. Axel designed an italic to turn Knif into a family, and we released the latter in December 2017. The italic has been inspired by some shapes from French Renaissance times (clearly visible in the lowercase g) but mixed with the radical style of Knif roman.
This was the perfect occasion to properly launch the typeface at the Batt Coop gallery in Paris, as well as to present the Knif mono journal, a collaborative 40 pages publication, being actually twenty 44 x 63 cm posters from twenty different graphic design studios. You can see the images of this launch in the "in use" images above. The designers were the following : Étienne Hervy (FR), Jean-Philippe Bretin (FR), Victor Fonseca (PT), Atelier Brenda (BE), Bureau Borsche (DE), Syndicat (FR), Jad Hussein (FR), Olivier Lebrun (FR), Jan Novak (CZ), Dreams Office (FR), Christophe Gaudard (FR), Roosje Klaap (NL) & Pauline Le Pape (FR), Clément Gicquel (FR), Unfun (DE), Intercouleur (FR), Spassky Fischer (FR), HelloMe (DE), Antoine Elsensohn & Cécile Legnaghi (FR), and, last but not least, Pouya Ahmadi (IR/US).
Here you can download the “A is for” test fonts collection and use them for demonstration purpose only, if you are a professionnal and you need to convince a client before purchase, or if you are a student and want to try one of our fonts for a school project.
Please remember that this type foundry can continue providing new designs only if you buy fonts once in a while :)
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