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By Linotype

Brigitte Schuster

The Cardamon? typeface family was designed by Brigitte Schuster and released as part of the exclusive Linotype Library in 2015. Cardamon is an old style serif design, whose proportions are inspired by 16th century punch-cutters Hendrik van den Keere and Robert Granjon. Due to this large x-height, good readability in small sizes is ensured in print and on screen. The roman weights have an oblique axis derived from the writing angle of the broad nib pen. The italics are notably distinct from the roman and has a literary tone. Cardamon is situated in the transitional style period, which contains elements of the pointed pen writing, and is also inspired by 16th century writing master Giovan Francesco Cresci as well as Robert Granjon's italics.

“My goal in creating the Cardamon™ family,” says Brigitte Schuster of her first typeface design, “was to make an down-to-earth serif typeface which, at the same time, has a resolute and straightforward demeanor.” 
The initial design was developed as part of Schuster’s Type and Media master’s course at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. While it was an important aspect of her degree program, the typeface was far from finished. Over the next three and a half years, she drew additional weights for the family and honed the design into its present handsome form. 
“I wanted to design a typeface with sharp edges and corners,” explains Schuster. “I was influenced by the angularities in Vojtěch Preissig‘s “Antiqua” and “Cursive” in addition to Oldřich Menhart‘s “Menhart” typeface.”
“The family was created over a long time, in between other projects,” Schuster recalls. “Every time I began working on it after an interruption, I found new details, which needed addressing. And as more of the typeface was developed, I had more glyphs that the changes had to be applied to.”

Before starting her career as a graphic designer, Schuster studied art and design in Italy, Portugal and Canada. It was at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (KABK) in the Netherland’s Royal Academy of Art, however, that she refined her craft of typeface design. In addition to graphic, editorial and typeface design, Schuster also teaches and writes for several design magazines. Schuster currently lives and works in Switzerland where she has also founded her own publishing house ‘Brigitte Schuster Éditeur.’

Throughout the development of the design, the foundational qualities of the Cardamon family remained constant. Its basic shapes and proportions are inspired by the 16th century punch-cutters Hendrik van den Keere and Robert Granjon. “Among other things, their typefaces have large lowercase x-heights,” explains Schuster. “This ensures good readability in small sizes.” The italics of the Cardamon family, however, have quite different roots – and are notably distinct from the roman. Their inspiration comes from the 16th century writing masters Giovan Francesco Cresci and Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi – and just a “pinch” from Robert Granjon‘s italics. The angle of the italics, at about 15°, is also quite steep. While the roman has an oblique axis derived from the writing angle of the broad nib pen, the italic is more of a transitional style, reminiscent of letters written with a pointed nib pen. Although its influences are historic, Cardamon is a contemporary design. Its open counters, distinct upper terminals, angular shapes, asymmetric lower terminals and dynamic italic make for a typeface that is highly legible – and one that stands out from the crowd. “I strived to have optically the same width for the lowercase letters,” says Schuster, “and drew the capitals somewhat shorter than the ascenders.” The latter is an old style design trait, which also aids in reading text set in German; because the language’s frequency of uppercase letters can make for uneven typographic color.

The Cardamon family can be an ideal choice for complex text-setting environments. Its four weights, distinctive italic, and small caps provide versatility while its ample x-height and individualistic character traits ensure readability in a wide range of sizes. This is a design made for textual and editorial content. Books, periodicals, catalogs, brochures and advertising copy are natural environments for the family. In addition, it’s large proportions, strong serifs and simple character shapes enable the face to perform well in a variety of digital, on-screen applications.
Old Style Serif