Skip to main content


By Monotype

Carl Crossgrove
Biome™ by Carl Crossgrove is a striking and individual typeface that has a vast spectrum of potential uses. Its shapes combine elements of biomorphism with minimalist elements and the humanist tradition of font design. This hyperfamily with its 42 variants is not only at home in print design projects, but is the perfect webfont for internet sites.
This typeface bears the name 'Biome', and biome is a term that is also used to designate a kind of ecosystem. Like these ecoregions, which represent a perfectly coordinated system of an immense number of factors, Biome is also a symbiosis of various experimental aspects and influences that were combined in a long drawn-out design process. The starting point for this process was Crossgrove's ambivalent attitude towards the futuristic design movements of the mid-20th century. He was fascinated by the minimalism and biomorphism of this era but, at the same time, repelled by the overly ascetic and rational elements. As a consequence, he began to look for a way to merge humanist, biomorphic and minimalist features in what, in his words, is a form of organic modernism".
In the sketches that formed the basis for his typeface Biome, Crossgrove experimented with inner and outer shapes in different styles, adapted letters to the form of the superellipse, and added curves only to remove these again. His challenge was to find a harmonious and coherent approach that provided sufficient contrast with existing fonts.
Biome is essentially in the sans serif tradition and the letters exhibit only minor variations in terms of line thickness. There is still a suggestion of the superellipse at many points, but this never becomes the predominant design factor. While most of the terminals of the vertical strokes are only slightly rounded, the horizontals and diagonals have pronounced arches and it is these that basically determine the round and soft character of the typeface.
The more unconventionally shaped letters, such as the lowercase 'g' with its two semi-open counters and the 'k' and 'x' with their crossbars, provide Biome with an individual personality. And this effect is emphasised by the generously rounded links in the 'v' and 'w' and the uppercase 'M' and 'N'.
Biome has been designed as a typeface hyperfamily. From the near hairline Extra Light to the amply proportioned Ultra, there are seven clearly differentiated weights and three tracking widths. There are oblique italic versions of all variants. The range includes small caps and numeral sets containing lowercase and uppercase digits. With its available range of characters, Biome can be used to set texts in all Eastern European languages.
Although the remarkable individuality of Biome is most clearly apparent in the larger point sizes, this typeface is not just suitable for producing headlines and logos. Biome's elegant visual effects mean that it is equally comfortable in short texts while its large x-height and generous counters make it readily legible even in the small font sizes. Biome is a contemporary typeface that employs mid-20th century futurist elements which ironically give it a retro feel."

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.

Download the Biome type specimen

Sans Serif
Square Sans