Sharp Type is a digital type foundry based in New York City and was founded in 2015 by Chantra Malee and Lucas Sharp. Chantra is in charge of strategy, brand management, graphic design, sales, and communication for the foundry, while Lucas acts as type director. Before he got into type design, Lucas Sharp was a painter. That’s why his work is, above all, shaped by the love of balanced and compelling form and beauty, but his foundry’s type designs also uniquely combine those traits with the utilitarian aspect of design and state-of-the-art type engineering. Many of the typefaces in the library are exploring edges and are groundbreaking in how they bring together expressive, contrasting details with a coherent visual appearance.
Sharp Type’s library contains a broad variety of styles, ranging from expressive display typefaces like Frauen, an ode to German calligraphy, or the contemporary blackletter Respira Black, to charming serif designs like Doyle.
The most notable designs of the catalog are, however, the sans serifs. There is the warm but neutral geometric sans-serif Sharp Sans, for example, an iteration of the display typeface used by Michael Bierut’s team at Pentagram for the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign.
Sharp Grotesk is a neo-grotesk superfamily with an incredibly wide range of styles that explores the edges of what is possible in sans-serif typography. Or, to quote from the Sharp Type website: “Swiss styling collides with the unexpected construction and wonky imperfectionism of 20th-century American wood type in Lucas Sharp’s monument to Adrian Frutiger.”
Garnett is the first typeface designed by Connor Davenport, senior typeface designer and technical director at Sharp Type. The design of the family combines the source material of the early, quirky grotesques of 19th-century Britain with hints of American Gothics into a confident, striking, and distinct contemporary typeface.
And then, there is Marc Rouault’s Trois Mille – expressive, unseen, and truly genre-redefining in its innovative design. The design of the type family that started as Marc’s TypeMedia thesis project in 2016 is based on a simple but effective idea: by always orienting the pen at 0° for horizontal strokes and 90° for verticals, hairlines only occur at the stroke intersections and some interior strokes and joins, while the rest of the strokes remain thick. This breakthrough idea led to a contrast methodology Sharp calls “internal contrast”. It’s what makes Trois Mille so exiting and charmingly weird and it is also the foundational methodology behind Beatrice, with all its dramatic visual oddity culminating in Beatrice Display.
Trial fonts with a limited character set are available as well as a few nice things.
This post is part of the Independent Type Foundry Advent Calendar 2022