The Kontiki typeface digitally simulates a handmade wood print but is less expensive to produce and easier to correct. It offers a designer the possibility to create a printed image that is very close to a traditional woodcut. As the warmth of manually printed matter demonstrates a special effort and has become a sign of quality and good taste, Kontiki is quite useful for advertising, packaging, editorial, and corporate design.
To create the Kontiki fonts, 193 glyphs were manually cut into five wooden plates and carefully printed by hand. From countless test prints, the most charming four were selected and digitized to create the different styles. For each of the 560 characters, the font offers four different qualities of print and gives you the opportunity to create a vivid typography according to your own visions.
The Kontiki Family has 4 styles as single fonts with 560 glyphs each, featuring four different qualities of print. The Pro version contains all 2240 glyphs as “stylistic alternates” in one font with optimized kerning for all style combinations offers the “contextual alternates” feature. This OpenType feature generates an automatic variation of glyphs with a randomized selection. All customers of the Pro Version will get all single fonts of the family for free. If you have no access to these OpenType features with your layout software, it may be better to use the smaller single font files, but if you would like to have optimized kerning for all letters, use the Pro version.
Kontiki offers various sets of numerals and mathematical signs, as well as common currency symbols in all four styles. To meet the needs of global communication it has a wide range of language support and supports all western-, eastern- and central-European languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Afrikaans, Albanian, Basque, Breton, Catalan, Corsican, Danish, Dutch, Faroese, Finnish, Frisian, Galician, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Kurdish (Latin), Leonese, Low German, Luxembourgian, Malagasy, Malay (Latin), Norwegian (Bokmål), Norwegian (Nynorsk), Occitan, Pilipino (Tagalog), Rhaeto-Romanic, Scottish Gaelic, Swahili, Swedish, Tahitian, Wallon, Bosnian (Latin), Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Serbian Latin, Slovak, Slovene, Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian, Turkmen
Open Type Layout Features
Kontiki supports the following OpenType features: standard ligatures, lining figures, old style figures, tabular figures, tabular old style figures, fractions, nominators, denominators, inferiors, ordinals, contextual alternates (this OpenType feature is only available in the Pro version. It generates an automatic variation of glyphs with a randomized selection. You can also choose the stylistic sets manually with stylistic alternates)
Inspired by type, made from woodcuts his wife has carved, Felix Braden decided to cut a full set of glyphs for a manual print run. To start with, he draws a Clarendon style bold typeface, by reducing the contrast of one of his favorite typefaces: Century Schoolbook. A light and a black weight were digitized and interpolated to generate a bold weight to be cut in wood.
After testing different techniques and sizes, he settled on a woodcut in a size of around 150 points and cut a total of five plates to complete a full set of glyphs. The choice of paper was also a difficult task. Eventually, he chose a matte coated printing paper with a very smooth surface, because he wanted to show the misprints in the printed image and not the effects caused by the structure of the paper. All plates were printed in an edition of 30 and four different qualities for digitalization were chosen: a print with full pressure, a half pressure print, and two subsequent prints without re-inking.
After selecting the best quality prints, the complete set was scanned and all same style glyphs were compiled into a single pixel file. Prior to vectorizing (with the „Trace Image“ extension), the scans had to be simplified by using Gaussian Blur and Median filter to keep the file size as small as possible. To be a well-performing font, a glyph should have around 1000 nodes as a maximum, and all its curves should be replaced by straight lines. After all the fonts were optimized and generated with Glyphs app.
Residing in Cologne Germany, Felix Braden, the designer behind Kontiki, has a background in graphic design. He studied Communication Design at Trier University of Applied Sciences with Prof. Andreas Hogan and worked with Jens Gehlhaar at Gaga Design. He co-founded Glashaus Design, is an art director at MWK Cologne and works as a freelance type designer. In 2000, he founded the free font foundry, Floodfonts, and designed numerous free typefaces, which are available as web fonts via Adobe Typekit. His commercial fonts are distributed by FontShop International (FF Scuba), Floodfonts (Capri, Sadness, Grimoire), URW++ (Supernormale), Volcano type (Bikini) and Ligature Inc (Tuna, as a cooperation with Alex Rütten) and are all available via MyFonts. FF Scuba is one of the winners of the Communication Arts Typography Annual 2013, and was an honorable mention in Typographica’s Favorite Typefaces of 2012, in Typefacts Best Fonts of 2012, in FontShop’s Best Types 2012, and in Typecache’s Favorite Typefaces of 2012. Kontiki was nominated for the German Design Award 2019.