A pachinko is a Japanese gambling machine that makes a lot of light and sounds. The perfect name to talk about the human hand facing mechanical processes, which is at the core of typography.
The Pachinko type family is organized in 6 styles : text, mono, italic, all of them three existing in regular and bold weights. The "mono" is of course a monospaced version and the "text" is a proportionnally spaced version. The twist of the family lies in the italic : the Pachinko italic is monospaced but the wordspacing can be made proportionnal, thanks to a stylistic set, so that it can work both with the "text" and the "mono" versions (saving also some money because you don't need to buy an extra style).
The quirky style of the italic comes from the confrontation of shapes traced by hand, expressing cursivity, with the fixed width imposed by the machine.
The italic version comes also with a second stylistic set, for an alternate lowercase L. Instead of the loopy version, you can a straighter one.
The first drawings for Pachinko were born after seeing a wood panel in the old town of Kyôto : the letters had been engraved with a basic cutter machine, producing rounded shapes. I always found Latin alphabet in old Japanese fonts very touching for all of this history of mechanized typesetting that they are telling us; the tension between these two systems that have no common point : Latin shapes are proportionnal, with ascenders and descenders, and Japanese signs have to always fit in a square box.That is why Pachinko has very short ascenders and descenders, and its 'm' and 'w' are compressed in their width.
As always, the texture of this type family is as evenly as possible, with a loose spacing, making the typeface very legible at small sizes and on screen. But when showed in large sizes, the italic becomes very characteristic and can give strength to a poster or even exhibition panels.
Pachinko mono also includes framed versions of letters and numbers, as long as a set of original bullets and pictograms, all refering to the pachinko steel spheres and retro gaming. You can combine them to create ornaments and original underlining styles.
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