Hoefler and Frere-Jones sure do a lot right. Their latest contribution to the typographic landscape, the delightful Idlewild, is an impeccably crafted romp through mid-century typographic stylings. It’s a family of type that feels like it has existed for 50 years, and yet somehow we’ve been living without it.
Idlewild’s Max Bill–esque proportions and geometric construction are stunning, to me evoking the Tomorrowland modernist dream that never came to be: Braun household robots, GE’s carousel at the 1964 World’s Fair and jet packs. So many jet packs.
And yet contemporary applications of Idlewild are everywhere, and therein lies the beauty of H&FJ’s work. Somehow, every new type family seems to be exactly what you need. Their timeliness is impeccable, and the subsequent ubiquitousness of an H&FJ font immediately after its release is evidence of the magnitude of this studio’s contribution to our visual landscape.
Oh, can we please talk about those specimens? Impeccable color palettes and playful compositions combine to suggest an entirely new visual era, as if a whole chapter was deleted from your graphic design history textbook and then suddenly rediscovered today. One can only hope they have as much fun creating them as I have looking at them.