Priori Acute is the latest addition to Jonathan Barnbrook's diverse font family for digital type foundry Emigre. The letterforms exhibit discontinuous shifts in perspective, reminding me of topology diagrams and how I felt the first time I cut a Mobius Strip in half, lengthwise. The serifed letters are all regularly drawn letterforms, with a superimposed white line creating the illusions. This results in very nuanced but completely legible text.
According to Emigre, the shifting forms came from a series of experiments with three-dimensional, 19th century display faces. Rather than utilizing the usual fake-relief or drop shadow method to create an illusion of depth, however, Barnbrook's studio referenced all kinds of shape-changing work, from M.C. Escher's visual conceits to the radio-wave-deflecting angles of the Stealth Bomber.
Though this could be viewed as more than a bit of a throw-back, the font actually feels super-contemporary to me, breaking away from the sensibility of the super-flat and bringing a fascination with perception and phenomena back into the mix. And pattern, too—Priori Acute includes ornamental elements that combine endlessly into mesmerizing textures.
Lisa is dedicated to promoting the American contemporary design scene. She keeps herself busy as the co-founder of the Object Design League, an association of independent designers in Chicago, and design practice Smith&Linder, both co-founded with Caroline Linder. She also teaches foundation research studios at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.