In the middle of a freezing Yorkshire winter in 2006, Jonathan Hill founded The Northern Block digital type foundry. The goal was - and has been ever since - to design & develop new and original typefaces, with a high technical value that work in the commercial market place.
Jonathan and The Northern Block’s reputation has grown ever since, along with his catalogue of distinctive and high usable typefaces. At the time of writing, there are 47 Northern Block font families available through Fontdeck - a phenomenal number for a foundry only 6 years old.
Chief among Jonathan’s prolific output includes the hugely popular NeoGram superfamily with its 27 styles plus real italics and 3 different widths. Influenced by the Haas type foundry (of Helvetica fame), Neogram is deliberately neutral sans-serif with a slightly softened clarity of form.
Neogram in use by Ellis David
Brokman was designed to be both new and relevant to today’s graphic and web designers. The process of designing Brokman was contemporary too, and entirely novel. Jonathan engaged fellow typographic professionals on forums such as Typophile to essentially provide a collective design brief and subsequent feedback on the designs.
The result is a geometric sans-serif in no fewer than 10 weights which maintains a smooth line consistency throughout the family. An applied optical balance between horizontal and vertical strokes keeps the geometric shapes feeling more natural.
Borda and Planer
Borda and Planer are particular favourites among Fontdeck users. Borda is a carefully drawn geometric typeface. Exacting angles are combined with smooth corner details to form a clean, legible font with a modern appearance. The compact nature of the letterforms allows for great use of space across text layouts.
Planer, on the other hand, is a modern rounded typeface combining humanist elements with a strong geometric grid. The result is a font that can produce striking visuals at large scale and clean line legibility at text size.
At first glance, Tadao would seem to be essentially a display and headline face, although further inspection reveals it to work just as well in body copy. This is down to the precise, rounded forms and a clean and linear appearance. The compact nature of Tadao allows for great economy of space across layouts.
Tadao in use by Rik van der Velden
Regan & Regan Slab
Regan, seemingly named after John Thaw’s character in the Sweeney, is a finely crafted yet uncomplicated sans serif. Soft curves are mixed with minimal angles to create a readable font ideally suited for online use. The 10 weights with italics provide plenty of flexibility for display work and headlines, as well as running text.
The simple curves and sharp angles of Regan Slab match perfectly with Regan, and the two can be interchanged at will.
We’re really looking forward to seeing more Northern Block fonts arrive at Fontdeck - knowing Jonathan, we won’t have to wait long!