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We designed Armitage by skipping recent trends and went straight to the source: the same vintage lettering that inspired the first sans serif typefaces. Quirks abounded in early sans serif letters, earning them the labels grotesque and gothic. We enjoy those letters and studied them to make Armitage a quirky workhorse.
At the dawn of the nineteenth century British artists and architects began to revive sans serif letters, which had fallen out of use centuries earlier. High-contrast type by Baskerville, Bodoni, and Didot had become the model for type design in the 1900s. But where Bodoni could look to Baskerville, who looked to Caslon, type designers had no model sans serif. So they experimented with designs based on sans serif letters in inscriptions, maps, and engravings. Their designs had a lively quality that was ironed out of later sans serif type.
Armitage revives this experimental method. Rather than attempt to distill an ideal form from Akzidenz Grotesk as 1950s neo-groteque designs did, we went back to those raw letters. Instead of shining with the mechanical polish, Armitage sparkles with the life of letters drawn for the sake of drawing letters. This instilled Armitage with the warmth and originality that make it a friendly workhorse family.