Carl Crossgrove describes his Biome typeface family as “both futuristic and organic, with a sense of calm.” He recalls, “My first sketches showed a globular, amorphous alphabet derived from superellipses. At the same time, I was sketching a rectangular, vaguely calligraphic sans serif design, on which I made the notation ‘square, futuristic, mechanical.’ The two threads eventually joined in one typeface, incorporating many of these contrasting qualities.”
Biome (bi as in binary + ome as in home) grew out of a succession of unrelated typographic experiments. Crossgrove says, “I wanted to see what resulted from subtracting superellipses from each other.” After Crossgrove had synthesized several abstract concepts and influences, he proceeded to survey futuristic or rectilinear typefaces, including the Eurostile, Neuropol, Rogue Sans, Handel Gothic, and Korataki designs.
He observes, “Some of these faces were drawn within an unbending rectangular grid, others were developed primarily for display sizes, or were based on the ‘Grotesk’ character structure. I saw that by retaining a softer demeanor, with generous character spacing, Biome would accommodate a wider range of sizes and applications.” He adds, “I looked at mid-20th century modern furniture and architecture, automobile styling and even leaf shapes.” After successive design refinements and blending, the simplified, superelliptical design with a large x-height, squared bowls and soft diagonal terminals emerged.
A senior type designer at Monotype Imaging, Crossgrove has been obsessed with letters since learning to read at the age of two. Born in Mexico and raised in central Connecticut, his fascination emerged in early chalk-drawn alphabets on his family’s driveway and giant letters cut from paper. Later in his youth, Crossgrove dabbled in display lettering that was influenced by comic book art, record album covers and the Art Nouveau resurgence of the 1970s. As he grew older, he discovered classical type and lettering, and his typographic interests deepened.
Crossgrove has drawn a variety of typefaces ranging from the Reliq and Origami display designs to the Beorcana and Mundo Sans typeface families. His work for Monotype Imaging also takes him into the realm of custom font development and non-Latin scripts.
Biome’s soft corners and distinctive character shapes make the family a natural for branding, packaging and advertising applications as well as movie titles, gaming and other interactive graphics.
The name Biome? Biomes are climatically and geographically similar climatic conditions, such as communities of plants, animals and soil organisms – basically an ecosystem. Biome is an apt name for a typeface that melds design influences from the myriad aspects of modern life.
The Biome superfamily includes narrow, regular and wide subfamilies – each with seven weights and an italic complement – for a total of 42 styles. The family is also available as a suite of OpenType Pro fonts, allowing for the automatic insertion of small caps, ligatures, old style figures and fractions. Pro fonts also include an extended character set that supports most Central European and many Eastern European languages.