Retype was founded in 2007 by Ramiro Espinoza, an Argentine designer who moved to the Netherlands in 2003 to study typeface design at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK). His connection with the Low Countries dates to the 1970s, when his father found asylum there as a political refugee. After graduation from the graphic design department at the Universidad Nacional del Litoral in Santa Fe, Argentina and a stint teaching typography at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Espinoza enrolled at the Type and Media postgraduate program in The Hague.
Having developed a keen interest in the rich Dutch design culture from an early age, Espinoza decided to stay in the Netherlands. His research into Dutch vernacular lettering quickly became an important theme in his type design practice. Several of his projects immortalize lettering styles found on buildings, bridges, bars, and other public structures in the Netherlands.
Retype launches on Type Network with versatile type families for text and display, including an extraordinarily ornamented script and an exclusive new release inspired by an unsung sixteenth-century master.
Laski Slab was originally designed by art director Paula Mastrangelo for a children’s webzine. Espinoza helped Mastrangelo develop the typeface into an editorial powerhouse consisting of ten weights with matching italics. With robust letterforms constructed according to humanist principles, Laski Slab seems friendlier than more mechanical or geometric slab serifs. Its slightly wider horizontal proportions and open apertures enhance readability in print and on screen, and lend the typeface a sympathetic and expressive air in display sizes. In 2014, the family won a Certificate of Excellence at the Tipos Latinos Biennale and a Gold Award at Hiii Typography. In the year following Laski Slab’s release, Espinoza created a sans serif companion, Laski Sans. Its ten weights correspond perfectly with those of Laski Slab, which makes mixing and matching fonts from the two families a breeze. Both designs sport two stencil variants, which enliven the family’s generally reserved tone and expand its typographic range.
With his breathtaking copperplate script Medusa, Espinoza pays homage to Ramón Stirling, the renowned Spanish penmanship master from the mid-1800s. Espinoza started by analyzing how formal English handwriting had been adapted to the typographic technologies from different eras. This caused the historical models to be simplified, producing artificial typefaces that were far removed from the resplendence of nineteenth-century commercial handwriting. Espinoza chose the opposite route—instead of forcing the letterforms to accommodate the technology, he used rich OpenType features to mimic the graceful elegance of the original style. A set of impressively ornamental capitals and numerous swashes and ligatures enhance the beauty of the script, while a complement of small caps makes it possible to set all-caps text, an option absent in most typefaces from this genre. Modular swashes and ornaments for creating decorative headings and cartouches of dazzling complexity are offered in a separate font.
Lavigne is Ramiro Espinoza’s answer to the classic typefaces populating glossy magazines. Having worked as an editorial designer for two newspapers, he wanted to offer a contemporary alternative to art directors of publications on interior design and fashion. Espinoza set out to capture the refinement of the modern serif genre without relying too much on historical designs. Delicate calligraphic touches imbue Lavigne with a sophisticated look that sets it apart from the usual mainstays. The family offers two carefully considered optical sizes—Lavigne Text reduces the contrast between thick and thin for better performance in body copy; the design’s distinguished elegance blossoms in the display sizes.
Espinoza, who views typeface design as a continual learning process, recently finished the Expert Type Design program with Frank E. Blokland at the Plantin Institute. During his year at the Plantin Institute, research into classical French and Belgian roman typefaces made him discover types attributed to François Guyot. Instead of producing a slavish facsimile, Espinoza decided to create a contemporary interpretation aimed at the editorial market. He abandoned the long ascenders and descenders, and referenced popular newspaper and magazine faces in his search for the right x-height and contrast. Drawing on his past experience as an in-house editorial designer, he discarded specific features of the metal originals and introduced sharp angles and a sturdy appearance, thus allowing the new typeface to develop its own identity. Guyot Headline is the first member of the family to be released; a text version and a set of typographic ornaments are in the works. Guyot Headline is exclusive to Type Network and Retype.
“I was smitten from the moment I saw Retype’s work,” said General Manager Paley Dreier. “While at Typo Labs 2017 in Berlin, I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner with Ramiro. His designs exude the warmth, enthusiasm, and flair of his character. It’s a real honor to welcome him to Type Network.” Whether you prefer workmanlike dedication, refined elegance, or embellished exuberance, Retype has what you need.
All Retype fonts are available for desktop, web, app, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days. To stay current on all things Retype, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.