Copyright (c) 2012 by Michael Parson / Typogama. All rights reserved.
The inspiration for this design started with a graphic design project where the client wanted to use what they called a ‘fun’ font, Comic sans being obviously named as an example. I decided the best option would be to design my own solution, hence the Bangbang font family.
Despite a simple concept and technique, I quickly got more involved in the project as I worked on the basic letterforms but also researched the world of comics.
I was amazed by the vast and complex field where some visuals seemed familiar, like the Marvel series, but a large range where complete revelations of styles and themes. The end result of my research being the creation of a particularly serious and complete, absurd font, Bangbang!
Weights & styles
What had started as a bold, wide font for display use, was expanded into a full family that included both a thinner regular weight, that could be used in a text setting, but also a true italic style.
The main reasoning was that despite the typeface’s obvious irregular setting, the font did work quite well in text settings, so adding the extra weights helped offer more options for a text layout.
While testing the first exports of the Bangbang design, I started to think about an outline additional style for the font; I liked the idea of having a title variant of the font.
After a few trials, I set upon only using the bold cut as the base for the outline, it’s thick stroke and low contrast was the best suited for the outline variant; the result was a third overall style for the font family that added that extra comic side to the design that was starting to become very serious!
This family was designed to feature a range of numerals, from Oldstyle to tabular numbers and superscript or subscript forms. This allows a designer a choice between the 2 styles will setting text, the Tabular being more suited for capitals or grids.
As I was working on the lighter style, I started to think more about this design as a truely functional font, I had successfully set a few design projects in the typeface and started to explore the possibility of including a larger language support. Having already worked on a few Cyrillic fonts, I could quite rapidly see the base forms of that script in my letters, but the flowing and manuscript style of the forms made me equally look into the Greek script.
As opposed to both the Latin & Cyrillic forms, greek letters still bear a strong influence from
manuscript letters, there is a touch of looseness in the shapes that seemed to suit my direction with the Bangbang typeface. The resulting forms mean that the Bangbang typeface family can be used in a large range of languages, each font being available in ISO 1, 5 and 7, covering most European and eastern European scripts.
This typeface was conceived as an Opentype font from the outset, the aim being to use the features to add variables, hence more character and unpredictability, to the letterforms.
With that in mind, a large series of Opentype options where explored, the first being the use of Alternate letters whereby each repeating letter is automatically replaced by another form. This feature not only adds variety to the design but also gives the designer setting text or logotypes even more options in their layouts. The feature works across all language settings.
An obvious second feature was to use the Ligature option for more problematic connections, such as Ti or Fi, but since the forms where providing some interesting solutions, I worked on a few more combinations to showcase other common letter combinations.
Since the 2 first features had worked quite well, I was by now getting quite involved in my serious ridiculous design and thought since I had gone this far, it would be fun to have a few extra Swash letterforms. Not only would this allow me to keep working on more glyphs, that had become quite enjoyable, but it more importantly added an extra style feature that could be used to distinguish titles from text, for example.
Having viewed a large amount of cartoons and such themed designs, I kept going back to a very iconic TV series, the Batman from the 1970’s.
I still think the show was a strange, but actually quite fantastic in it’s curiousity, in the way that it mixed real video footage with cartoon sound effects with a backdrop of ridiculous costumes in light of the more contempory cartoon heros.
Probably driven by a desire to add a last punch to the design, I thought that by adding a series of onomatopoeia logo glyphs would just be a great cap to the project; a sort of hidden Pow inside the font that only an intrusive designer will find; and maybe apply.
Bangbang is therefore a fun, laid back design that can be used for text settings or in larger sizes. Due to the wide range of weights and Opentype features, the typeface can be used with a great variety and options.