The Camphor™ typeface is a design where tradition inspires function. Nick Job, Camphor’s designer, was driven by his determination to avoid all calligraphic allusions, such as angular stress and organic asymmetry. Job reflects, “I wanted to draw a modern, uncluttered sans serif family with classical proportions, unashamedly English but with fewer idiosyncrasies than its influential forerunners.”
Job looked to the archetypal London Underground typeface drawn by Edward Johnston in the early 20th century. He also studied Eric Gill’s Gill Sans® design – particularly its open counters and characteristic vertical terminals – to establish the overall disposition of Camphor. The design also owes some of its foundation to European sans serif typefaces typified by the designs of Adrian Frutiger. Job says, “Camphor is considerably narrower than Johnston’s typeface, whose circular ‘o's drive the design’s generally wide lowercase. And Camphor has less attitude than Gill Sans.” The resulting design is space economical and will be equally at home in diverse environments, from branding and signage through editorial and advertising.
Job graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 1994, with a degree in graphic design. Shortly thereafter, armed with a portfolio of pencil sketches for potential typeface designs, he visited Robin Nicholas, Monotype Imaging’s senior type designer, in its UK office. After learning that he would have to digitize his drawings before Monotype Imaging could consider them, Job temporarily abandoned type design as his profession and joined a global logistics company as a graphic designer. Ten years later, seeking more creative opportunities, Job began freelancing – simultaneously investing in the software necessary to begin converting some of his embryonic typographic sketches into viable typeface designs. Once again, Job approached Robin Nicholas, for whom one design particularly stood out. Over the course of the next five years, this would become Camphor.
Camphor is understated yet assured, serious though not unfriendly. It commands respect without drawing attention to itself at the expense of communicating efficiently. Job’s finely honed design skills, enhanced by invaluable feedback from Nicholas and significant technical guidance from Jeremy Tankard throughout the project, ensured that Camphor would become a sturdy, hard-working, highly-readable – yet elegant – typeface for the 21st century.
The complete Camphor family includes a total of 12 typefaces. Each of the six weights, ranging from thin to heavy, has a companion italic. The family is available as a suite of OpenType® Pro fonts, allowing for the automatic insertion of small caps, ligatures and alternate characters. Pro fonts also offer an extended character set supporting most Central European and many Eastern European languages. Additionally, the entire Camphor family is available as Web fonts from Fonts.com, providing superior legibility and unusual elegance ‘sans’ fussiness for on-screen and mobile applications.