Naoko started with this sketch of fat and extended letters in a notebook. After digitizing it one year later, I decided to draw a light version of it... and it ended up becoming a whole family of seven weights and their seven true italics.
The Naoko typeface has been named after Naoko Yamazaki, who is a former astronaut at JAXA, the second Japanese woman to qualify for the program. That is why the printed type specimen above revolves around space.
The design of Naoko typeface relies on wide proportions, very short ascenders and light diacritics that remain the same on all weights. The blacker weights give titles a strong impact but, as all the other "A is for" fonts, each weight has been refined so that it works also at small sizes for long text.
At first, the dots were round but in the final version they are square to give a good balance to the generous curves of the letters and make the whole font look more badass.
Naoko includes two stylistic sets for alternate lettershapes : a of italic structure and g with a larger counter and a shorter ascender. The third stylistic set is replacing all punctuation with a light punctuation. The diacritics remain the same weight across all weights, even the black one, so this alternate punctuation has been made to match the light diacritics.
The italic of Naoko is strongly inclined, and the junctions between the stem and the curves are very deep. This strong angle and these deep junctions bring enough contrast with the roman and allow the italic to remain wide, unlike what is usually made for italics that are condensed. It is a true italic, meaning that the design of the letters is different from the roman version and not just slanted.
If the type tester is not enough for your trials, you can contact me and I can provide a trial version with a limited glyphset (basic lowercase and basic capitals) and no OpenType features.
Please remember that this type foundry can continue providing new designs only if you buy fonts once in a while :)
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