Hamilton Ulmer

CHANGELOG / Dec 21, 2021
Fun with Fonts: Kass by Cinketype

I’m a huge fan of Future Fonts, a site where you can buy at a discount typefaces that are still in-progress. You get every future version of the released font once you buy it, and the price goes up with every new version. So the earlier you buy, the better.

I’ve bought fonts like MD Nichrome when it was v0.1 ($16) only to see it grow into an amazing, versatile v1.0 (~$400). It’s fun to watch the development of fonts that seem promising.

Earlier today I saw Kass by Cinketype show up on Future Fonts. It’s the holidays, & though I’m no Font Review Journal, I figured I’d talk about the parts of Kass that I love since I have the time to go deep.


Here’s the description from designer Tibor Szikora on Future Fonts:

Kass is a typeface inspired by the handwriting, and etchings of Hungarian illustrator János Kass. He had an all caps, but cursive writing style, which produced extraordinary connections between characters.

I love fonts that eulogize the style of a brilliant artist. I hadn’t heard of János Kass before, but absolutely recognize his contributions to the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal. Everything about this font is catnip to me; it’s loud, it’s interesting and complex, and it has a great inspiration.

Kass excels by having tons of ligatures – 70 for the Upright and 97 for the Italics. It’s a strategy that pays off. You lose a lowercase but gain a raucous, unpredictable yet mesmerising rhythm to everything you typeset.

With that in mind, I liken Kass to a house party where everyone is good at banter. The Z runs into an E and they share their life stories, then the Z runs into another Z and they’re speaking entirely in inside jokes. T, H, and E are old friends who finish each other’s sentences. L can pretty much make anyone feel good, while T tends to dominate the conversation with some letters while butting heads with others. And so on, and so on, and so on. Having so many ligatures means that most uses of Kass will produce uniquely wild, unexepected, and entertaining type. The party emerges from all those individual interactions.

Uprights

There’s so much to admire about the uprights – the cuddling Ls, the abutting Ts, the ways H, E, A, and Z find a way to mingle with others (especially nice since It’s hard to find a font that makes my first name, “Hamilton”, actually interesting! ). I especially love the three-part ligatures and . I put together some examples of my favorite combinations below.

Italics

I’m often disappointed by italic offerings with these kinds of fonts, but Kass delivers some distinctly groovy italic ligatures, some of which are in the same spirit as the upright. My standouts: GY (), CS () , LD (), HA (), and of course the totally unhinged FF (). Take a look below for some examples.

Kass is still v0.1 (and feels like it), but it’s clearly full of promise. I do have some items on my wishlist for future versions. I’m hoping for more G*, M*, and N* ligatures (especially MM, GG, and NN) in the next version, and maybe a PR as well – letter combinations that are a bit more common in English. Love the idea of taking this exercise in ligature construction to its extreme! Let’s keep the party going.

Special thanks to Marissa Gorlick for nerding out w/ me over Kass.


Thanks for reading. Free free to reach out to me on Twitter w/ questions and disagreements.