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Hard times, home times

The pandemic and uneasiness of 2020 has hit all of us hard; but it has also motivated designers to try out new approaches.

We spoke with Giuliano Garonzi, the founder of Studio Garonzi, about his Home Times project — a free font to commemorate the weird vibes of self-isolation.

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https://hometimesfont.com/

It started very simply. While the whole world was in lockdown, I decided to print out several T-shirts to pin down this strange state of mind and to support efforts to fight COVID-19 — all proceeds go to the COVID-19 Emergency Appeal of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Initially, the print was simply a black-and-white drawing. However, I expanded the number of designs based on the scale of demand and started customizing sizing information, which inspired me to create an entire alphabet. Step by step, the project expanded into a font called Home Times, comprising 416 glyphs. Now we even have a Cyrillic version and a fairy-tale book published with the font, thanks to writer Gregg Clampffer. Gregg also created an audio version of the book.

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https://hometimesfont.com/

The font itself is inspired by the work of great Italian designer Bruno Munari. Munari wrote a series of books called Square Circle Triangle, where he plays with these shapes and their simplicity. I wanted to create an experimental font with unique, picture-like glyphs — despite that, I actually used it to type out conventional texts quite early on. Home Times is challenging to read at first, but eventually, your brain starts to decode the shapes of the letters and feels comfortable. Then, all of a sudden, you can read it without any difficulty.

Editor’s note: this idea corresponds very well to Emigre’s notion of legibility.

For the web page, I chose to pair it with Monument Grotesk Bold made by the Dinamo foundry. It’s extremely readable and I think it gels with the abstract nature of Home Times very well. I love bold typefaces, for reasons unknown to me.

As for Readymag features, we used Stripe integration for the store, and also custom slideshow features for the left and right icons. Nothing especially crazy there, I would say. I wanted to keep it clean (aside from the font itself, of course).

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https://hometimesfont.com/

As a final remark, I’m glad to note that the project received an Honorable Mention and Mobile Excellence Award from AWWWARDS.

The font has been downloaded hundreds of times, and the website has been visited by users from 974 cities and 96 countries. Here’s a nice usage example from Italian illustrator Andrea Manzati (@alconic on Instagram).

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Poster using Home Times font by Andrea Manzati (@alconic)

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