Case Study: Jungle World

When the in-house design team of the German political weekly Jungle World was preparing a drastic redesign in the late 1990s, Luc(as) de Groot was called in as typographic consultant. He provided the hand-painted masthead and a special version of his Sun typeface for headlines. For body text he proposed a rather subversive solution, befitting the paper’s own editorial attitude. The columns were to be set in two very different fonts, Plantin and Minion, slightly adapted by Luc(as) to be similar in colour; these text fonts were to be alternated every other paragraph. The designers have used the principle more or less consistently over the years, and nobody ever complained.

Floris in Jungle World

Floris in Jungle World

Floris JW

In the course of 2007 the design was completely overhauled and again, Luc(as) played a major role in the redesign. He drew Floris JW, a new, seven-weight headline version of the Floris typeface, which had originally been developed for the French daily Le Monde. In addition, a completely new Floris news text family was specially designed for use on Jungle World’s coarse newspaper stock.

Multiple-axis data

The development of Floris JW illustrates how a broad spectrum of possible solutions can be developed from existing font data. Floris was designed in FontLab Studio using four axes of parameters, each of which can be varied to obtain the perfect typeface for a specific job. In Floris, these axes are weight, width, x-height, and a more subjective variable which Luc(as) calls ‘time axis’ and which defines the proportion of extenders and x-height. “In the 1920s, the relative x-height was at its smallest, in the 1970s at its largest. For a pocket bible, the x-height should be large, for a poem a small x-height is more appropriate.”