Felix Bonge is a young typeface designer working in Hamburg, and the Levato typeface is his first commercial design. Bonge [pronounced Bong-ih] drew his first sketches for Levato several years ago, as a student in the design department of the Fachhochschüle (University of Applied Sciences) in Hamburg, studying under Professor Jovica Veljovic. Bonge also obtained an internship at the Elsner+Flake digital type foundry. He comments, “I didn’t originally set out to make a complete typeface family, but over time my exploration of letterform contrast and proportion became an ongoing project. For four years, I made myriad changes, adaptions and fresh starts.”
“I worked on Levato every semester,” Bonge adds. “At the time I was pretty new to the world of typography. As my knowledge grew – my awareness of the vast arsenal of typographic expression – my typeface character set also grew larger and larger. As I learned about small caps, swash letters, ligatures, etc., the glyph count rose by huge blocks. Finally, the design took control over the design process, and I did what it demanded.”
Bonge’s first drawings for Levato were pencil sketches on paper, but he soon switched to building the design using FontLab software. “Later, as I added characters like the swashes, I went back to sketching very loosely on paper to get a feel for their shape,” he explains, “but the final drawings were completed on screen.”
Levato can be an excellent choice for a wide range of typographic applications, but Bonge is quick to acknowledge that he drew the typeface primarily for setting display copy. “Levato is a headline face, and its name refers to the font’s intended position at the top of the page. ‘Levato’ stems from both the Spanish elevado (high) and the English word elevated. He observes, “Levato has fine details and tight spacing – and a tendency to extravagant expression that make it especially engaging for headlines and titles. With Levato, I’d say the bigger the better!” The Levato family includes a total of 10 typefaces: five weights, ranging from light to black, each with a companion Italic. The designs are available as OpenType Pro fonts, allowing for automatic insertion of small caps, ligatures and a bevy of additional characters (including dot-swashes for the i and j). Pro fonts also offer an extended character set supporting most Central European and many Eastern European languages.
When asked about his favorite aspects of the final design, Bonge quickly answers, “I like the way the playful, almost naïve, swash and alternate characters contrast to the serious, formal shapes of the roman designs.” The vast array of standard ligatures, discretionary ligatures, swashes and alternate characters, ordinals, fractions, superscript and subscript, make Levato a versatile typeface, suitable for advertising headlines in all media, distinctive blocks of display copy and lively magazine spreads.
Additionally, the entire Levato family is available as Web fonts, from Fonts.com Web Fonts.