Make it different to match

In a literal sense, Bridges connect inaccessible paths, bringing together things that wouldn’t ordinarily be connected. Here you can find out how Mona Franz’s Bridge Text and Head are connected by similar treatments but make new paths by combining different design approaches.

Unlike other superfamilies, Bridge Head and Text are distinguished by more than just optical corrections. With this editorial type family, Mona Franz wanted to create a tool that meets user needs in another way. With Bridge Head as the rock star and Bridge Text as the expert drummer, this is a typeface ensemble that creates a confident and edgy typographic sound. Like a band, each member plays a role. They share details when needed, but they express themselves independently to fit their purpose.

Differentiating in Dimensions and Proportions

While a textbook might say that typefaces for headlines have smaller x-heights than text styles, Mona found it doesn’t hurt if you give the display styles even more x-height! Bridge Head creates a striking appearance by filling up the spaces. Reading on screens seems to have made us more accustomed to larger x-heights — is that why Bridge Head’s exaggerated approach feels modern?

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 01 X Height X Hoehe

With reduced ascenders and short descenders, Bridge Head allows for tight line spacing and super compact headlines. In Bridge Text, a more conventional approach is taken: open apertures are combined with a generous x-height and larger ascenders and descenders for improved legibility.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 02 Ascenders Vertical Dimensions

For smaller sizes, Bridge Text’s narrow proportions strike a balance between achieving efficient use of space and readability in small sizes. With three different widths, Bridge Head is multifaceted: for striking headlines, you can choose between narrow, narrower and even more narrow ツ

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 03 Proportion Width Breite

To emphasise Bridge Head’s tighter spacing, Bridge Head’s round characters are squarer and more consistent. This is one of the biggest contrasts between the display and text versions and it comes about because letters intended for longer reading need greater differentiation.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 04 Roundness Squareness Rechteckig Rund

Differentiating Contrast and Construction

Bridge Text has a visible but moderate contrast between her thick and thin lines. Bridge Head, on the other hand, is a rebel. Against conventions established in early metal type production, her ‘hairlines’ stay strong for an edgy and confident appearance. While those classic conventions are meaningful, for Bridge there was no need to follow them and create a super-thin hairline version for large sizes.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 05 Contrast

So, unlike many other superfamilies, Bridge Head and Text are distinguished by more than just optical size adjustments. Bridge Head’s builds on forms that would be created by an uninterrupted pen movement, a running model. By contrast, the interrupted construction of the text version offers clearer counters for smaller sizes.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 06 Construction Strich Bewegung

Differentiating in Letterforms and Details

Typefaces exist to serve purposes. In this spirit, Bridge’s letters and details are designed in different ways. Bridge Head should attract attention, whereas Text needs letterforms that are simple, open and natural to work well in body text. Generally speaking, the four corners of Bridge Head’s counters (like in o) gives sparkling, symmetrical appearance. Whereas the two-cornered counters in Bridge Text are more calm and their asymmetry emphasize the reading direction.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 07 Counter Shapes Gebrochene Punzen

During her time at TypeMedia2018, Mona did a lot of tests to find out which counter shapes and joins worked best. If you want to dive deeper into her process, you should read her process notes on the TypeMedia website.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 08 Type Media2018 Sketch Skizze

Some letterforms, like the kickass K and rebellious R, are more expressively designed in Bridge Head for a unique recognition factor.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 09 Details

Other letters have contextual alternates to live up to Head’s energy. Switch on your OpenType Features when shouting in all caps and you’ll get a more compressed and dramatic appearance ‘WHEN A VJ CREATES VISUALS FOR PJ HARVEY’:

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 10 Contextual Alternates Alternativen

As a German, Mona has a special interest in the sharp Eszett form and Bridge uses OpenType stylistic sets to give you two options. In Head you will find the expressive and new ’Munich Eszett‘ shape as default. As the Text needs a more calm texture for pleasant reading, the new eszett is nested in the stylistic sets as an alternate. If you want to read more about the process and thinking behind Bridge’s Munich eszett, Mona wrote about it for Alphabettes.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 11 Munich Eszett Stylistic Sets Formatsatz

Differentiation in Serifs

Even Bridge’s serifs needed to be adjusted to give the right tone. Bridge Head emphasises long, wedged serifs with slightly bent curves. With simpler, straighter serifs the Text creates a crisp texture. Aimed at smaller sizes, Bridge Text’s details are often reduced, designed edgier or with wider proportions but it’s no secret that the edginess that’s a part of Bridge’s design works great in small sizes. So feel free to put Bridge Head to the test!

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 12 Serif Differences Serifen

Differentiation in Styles and Weights

Family planning is another point of difference. With three different widths from Con(densed) to Ext(ended) each in six weights from xLight to Black, Bridge Head offers a variety of ways to create impressive headlines. Since they’re rarely needed, you won’t find italics for Bridge Head. Instead, you can choose between 18 styles that are super-focussed on what display typography needs: from very compact headlines to extended styles for subheadings or pull quotes. Bridge Text, on the other hand, offers 10 body copy styles, from Light to xBold, each with matching italics.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 13 Styles Weights Schnitte Gewichte

Matching up in total

So what do they share? Everything they need. As daughters of classical Didone types, the Bridge duo have a vertical stress and modern treatment. Building on the idea of pointed pen lettering, Bridge’s thick-thin contrast is visible in all styles.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 14 Vertical Stress Didone Dodot Bodoni

Sharing DNA means the two typefaces share a common understanding of form, as you can see in the extravagant skeleton of the g. It is the exception, not the rule, that unites the two. As in any good relationship, it’s not obligatory to be exactly the same but to share some of the same interests.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 15 Skeleton Skelett

Bridge’s secret is that Head and Text share what’s necessary to belong together. Small details, for example, like the straight base serifs and the angled top serifs.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 16 Serif Match Serifen

Bridge Head and Bridge Text have very different roles but they complement each other and express a common feeling. The biggest connection between the two is the freedom to be different when needed. This allows Bridge Head to take the stage and attract attention and allows Bridge Text to focus on setting a calm, smooth texture in print and digital media. They also pursue a common aim: giving your layout a confident and edgy character.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 17 Different Roles Aperatures Gemeinsames Gefuehl

Just ask!

You know the little square that sometimes appears when you type, for example, a € sign in a font that was created before 2000? It’s a placeholder glyph that appears when a type designer hasn’t drawn the character you want to see. It isn’t an empty box in Bridge: if you find the ‘Just ask!’ button and need the glyph it’s supposed to be, send us an email.

If updating a font makes sense, we will. And feedback about language support is always welcome. Perhaps an alternate is needed for a visual identity, or you need an icon that fits with a specific project? Or what about a ‘bridge at night’ emoji? And if you need different widths or weights added to a typeface, just ask!

So, Bridges are about connection. With Bridge Head and Text Mona created two new tools for creative typography, and now it’s your turn to start connecting different paths.

Type Mates Mona Franz Bridge Head Text Article 18 Just Ask For Additions Ergaenzungen

Further reading