Nikolai

“The ancients stole all our great ideas from us.”, Mark Twain complained. “Nonsense!” we respond.

Designed by Franziska Weitgruber. Perhaps our most striking typeface to date.

24 Weights
Nikolai Light
Nikolai Light Italic
Nikolai Regular
Nikolai Italic
Nikolai SemiBold
Nikolai SemiBold Italic
Nikolai Bold
Nikolai Bold Italic
Nikolai Narrow Light
Nikolai Narrow Light Italic
Nikolai Narrow Regular
Nikolai Narrow Italic
Nikolai Narrow SemiBold
Nikolai Narrow SemiBold Italic
Nikolai Narrow Bold
Nikolai Narrow Bold Italic
Nikolai Condensed Light
Nikolai Condensed Light Italic
Nikolai Condensed Regular
Nikolai Condensed Italic
Nikolai Condensed SemiBold
Nikolai Condensed SemiBold Italic
Nikolai Condensed Bold
Nikolai Condensed Bold Italic
Rag
Rag
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Rag
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Rag
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Rag
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Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master. — Leonardo da Vinci

OpenType
Zeitgeist is 251 years old
Giorgio Vasari’s “Rinascita”!
La quadratura del cerchio
See Specimen PDF for further OpenType features.

Story

Admittedly at the very beginning of the conception of Nikolai was the attempt to reinterpret an old idea. At the end is something that has rarely been seen before, in terms of character and typographical impact. The best ideas are almost always only the best ideas of their time.

The designer, Franziska Weitgruber, was entrusted with the task of designing a revival of the Monotype typeface, Veronese, during her TypeMedia master’s degree at KABK in The Hague. Veronese is a mechanized version of the Golden Type by William Morris from 1925, which in turn was a rough interpretation of Nicolas Jenson’s earlier Print types of the 1470s. However, she was not entirely satisfied with the result and found her interpretation too cool and too rigid.

Driven by her own aspirations and ambition, she later tried to reinterpret another Jenson Model from the Renaissance. She found Nebiolo’s Jenson in an almost 90-year-old specimen from the legendary Turiner Foundry. Beguiled by the wild and liveliness of the typeface, she began to digitize the bold weight.

Image of the Nebiolo Specimen from the 1930s. It’s clear to see how far the designer moved away from the original. Scans made available by Dr. Thomas Maier.

Very soon, however, she abandoned her revivalist approach and developed the design and forms in a more emancipated and contemporary direction. In doing so, the typeface began to evolve into a display family full of character. And so Nicolas became Nikolai with the crucial letter ‘k’ which is so important in its design. The original Renaissance-DNA is now barely recognizable in the design owing to the clear stroke contrast.

The font was initially published on the Future Fonts platform. Renowned for showcasing refreshing and rebellious designs at an early stage, the young platform offered Franziska the ideal space to develop Nikolai into a modern extended family. The expansion into different widths, as well as the design of the italics, ornaments and alternative forms, such as round instead of square dots, are due in part to direct user feedback on Future Fonts. All these characteristics make the typeface a highly versatile headline, poster and logo font.

Now with its publication on Fontwerk, Nikolai has reached its optimum level of maturity. The angular and pointed shapes are full of character and fully developed. Overall, it exudes a typographic hardness, which when combined with a sans-serif, especially a geometric one, will command your full attention.

When all your best ideas just lay ahead of you, tease them out with a typeface that knows how to do it.

Two fictional use cases to illustrate Nikolai’s versatility (Template: Mr. Mockup)

A
#65

Glyphs

Uppercase

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

Lowercase

a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
j
k
l
m
n
o
p
q
r
s
t
u
v
w
x
y
z

Latin Accents

Á
Ă
Â
Ä
À
Ā
Ą
Å
Ã
Æ
Ć
Č
Ç
Ĉ
Ċ
Ð
Ď
Đ
É
Ĕ
Ě
Ê
Ë
Ė
È
Ē
Ę
Ğ
Ĝ
Ģ
Ġ
Ħ
Ĥ
Í
Ĭ
Î
Ï
İ
Ì
Ī
Į
Ĩ
Ĵ
Ķ
Ĺ
Ľ
Ļ
Ŀ
Ł
Ń
Ň
Ņ
Ŋ
Ñ
Ó
Ŏ
Ô
Ö
Ò
Ő
Ō
Ø
Õ
Œ
Þ
Ŕ
Ř
Ŗ
Ś
Š
Ş
Ŝ
Ș
Ə
Ŧ
Ť
Ţ
Ț
Ú
Ŭ
Û
Ü
Ù
Ű
Ū
Ų
Ů
Ũ
Ŵ
Ý
Ŷ
Ÿ
Ź
Ž
Ż
á
ă
â
ä
à
ā
ą
å
ã
æ
ć
č
ç
ĉ
ċ
ð
ď
đ
é
ĕ
ě
ê
ë
ė
è
ē
ę
ğ
ĝ
ģ
ġ
ħ
ĥ
í
ĭ
î
ï
i
̇
ì
ī
į
ĩ
ĵ
ķ
ĺ
ľ
ļ
ŀ
ł
ń
ň
ņ
ŋ
ñ
ó
ŏ
ô
ö
ò
ő
ō
ø
õ
œ
þ
ŕ
ř
ŗ
ś
š
ş
ŝ
ș
ß
ə
ŧ
ť
ţ
ț
ú
ŭ
û
ü
ù
ű
ū
ų
ů
ũ
ŵ
ý
ŷ
ÿ
ź
ž
ż

Numerals & Currency Symbols

0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
¤
$
¢
£
¥
ƒ
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Small Caps

!
"
#
$
%
&
'
(
)
*
+
-
/
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
<
=
>
?
@
[
\
]
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
i
j
k
l
m
n
o
p
q
r
s
t
u
v
w
x
y
z
{
}
~
¡
¢
£
¥
«
¬
­
±
»
¿
×
ß
à
á
â
ã
ä
å
æ
ç
è
é
ê
ë
ì
í
î
ï
ð
ñ
ò
ó
ô
õ
ö
÷
ø
ù
ú
û
ü
ý
þ
ÿ
ā
ă
ą
ć
ĉ
ċ
č
ď
đ
ē
ĕ
ė
ę
ě
ĝ
ğ
ġ
ģ
ĥ
ħ
ĩ
ī
ĭ
į
ĵ
ķ
ĺ
ļ
ľ
ŀ
ł
ń
ņ
ň
ŋ
ō
ŏ
ő
œ
ŕ
ŗ
ř
ś
ŝ
ş
š
ţ
ť
ŧ
ũ
ū
ŭ
ů
ű
ų
ŵ
ŷ
ź
ż
ž
ƒ
ș
ț
ə
̀
́
̂
̃
̄
̆
̇
̈
̊
̋
̌
̦
̧
̨

Punctuation

.
,
:
;
!
¡
?
¿
&
@
·
*
#
/
|
\
(
)
{
}
[
]
-
­
_
«
»
"
'

Mathematical Signs & Symbols

+
×
÷
=
>
<
±
~
¬
^
µ
%

Arrows & Shapes

Ligatures

Tv
Tw
Ty
fb
ff
ffb
ffh
ffi
ffk
ffl
fh
fi
fj
fk
fl
tt

Greek

π

Languages

Afrikaans
Albanian
Asu
Basque
Bemba
Bena
Breton
Catalan
Cornish
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Embu
English
Esperanto
Estonian
Faroese
Filipino
Finnish
French
Friulian
Galician
Ganda
German
Gusii
Hungarian
Icelandic
Inari Sami
Indonesian
Irish
Italian
Jola-Fonyi
Kabuverdianu
Kalenjin
Kamba
Kikuyu
Kinyarwanda
Latvian
Lithuanian
Lower Sorbian
Luo
Luxembourgish
Luyia
Machame
Makhuwa-Meetto
Makonde
Malagasy
Maltese
Manx
Meru
Morisyen
Northern Sami
North Ndebele
Norwegian Bokmål
Norwegian Nynorsk
Nyankole
Oromo
Polish
Portuguese
Quechua
Romanian
Romansh
Rombo
Rundi
Rwa
Samburu
Sango
Sangu
Sena
Serbian
Shambala
Shona
Slovak
Slovenian
Soga
Somali
Spanish
Swahili
Swedish
Swiss German
Taita
Teso
Turkish
Upper Sorbian
Uzbek
Volapük
Vunjo
Walser
Welsh
In The Wild
Credits & Details
Mastering, Production

Andreas Frohloff
Christoph Koeberlin

Marketing

Franziska Weitgruber (naming, graphic design)
Ivo Gabrowitsch (copywriting, imagery, specimen)
Lucy Beckley (English translation)
Jana Kühl (imagery)

Design Period

2018–2020

Release Date

07.2020

Recommended Use

Advertising & Packaging
Editorial & Publishing
Logo, Branding & CI
Fashion
Music & Nightlife
Poster & Billboards