Introducing Mostra Nuova

Mostra (2001) was originally conceived as a caps-only font. The source for its inspiration, lettering on Italian Art Deco posters from the 1930s, rarely included lowercase letters. Nevertheless, not long after I released it, I started thinking about what a lowercase for it might look like.

As OpenType fonts grew in popularity and acceptance, an OpenType version of Mostra, with its many alternate characters, seemed inevitable. Separating the alternates across three fonts for each weight was the only practical solution back in 2001. This worked okay, until you wanted to combine alternates from the separate fonts. It’s simply not possible to provide kerning pairs between characters in different fonts. And I did intend for the fonts to be used in this way, not only as separate fonts.

When it came time to develop an OpenType version of Mostra, combining the three fonts into one was the main idea, and it would have been simple enough to go that route, but then I remembered the idea of adding a lowercase. After making some trial designs, I decided it was worth the extra effort.

Of course, it takes time to add all those new characters, and the mind tends to wander. Before I finished designing the lowercase, I had thought of even more alternate characters for the uppercase. And, of course, many of these required analogs for the lowercase as well. Upshot: Lots of new characters.

And then I decided to add a sixth weight. I’d been looking at some hairline fonts for some reason and I suddenly thought, wouldn’t it be great if Mostra Nuova had a hairline weight? Yes, it would.

Mostra had 26 capital letters plus 15 alternates. Mostra Nuova has 52 upper- and lowercase letters plus 40 alternates. In the original version, the number of possible letter pair combinations was 650. The number of letter pair combinations for Mostra Nova is 8372. This meant that the number of kerning pairs needed would increase by more than ten fold. Times six weights. This didn’t quite sink in until I was well into kerning. Did I mention that I thought I expected to be done last April? But it was worth it in the end.

Of course, Mostra Nuova has much better language support, covering most Latin-based languages in Western and Central Europe. It also has a special feature so that when you change something to all-caps, things like hyphens and bullets are automatically centered on the height of the caps rather than the lowercase.

All in all, Mostra Nuova is a much more versatile font than its predecessor. Available now.