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.
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.