Givry - Tom Grace: typeface design, font development, and lettering
Givry basic charset

Givry had been created in the spirit of the bâtarde flamande, a style of writing used predominantly in France and present-day Belgium in the 15th century. The style shares an ancestry with other writing styles traditionally grouped as blackletter—fraktur, textura, rotunda, and schwabacher. It had evolved, however, into an æsthetic far removed from its relatives.

While high-contrast in nature, the bâtarde flamande is more delicate and dynamic than the austere and condensed fraktur and textura. Quick curves lack the rigidity of the schwabacher and rotunda. Flair through swashes is thematic, as are the variations in letterforms. The flowing rhythm, achieved through a letterform axis that is overall slightly rightward, is most noticable in the hallmark f and long s. Round forms are fused together for economy of space. It is a writing hand that, with its syncopation and fluidity, produces a vibrance uncharacteristic of other blackletters.

Givry is a melding of particular traits compiled from the works of three of the style’s prominent scribes—Jean Fouquet, Loyset Liédet, and Jean Bourdichon. While suitable as an elegant and energetic display face, Givry was conceived for setting continuous text. The result of many refinements and adjustments is the preservation of the style’s irregular nature, as well as a consistency that continuous-text typography requires. Carefully researched and developed for OpenType format for a wealth of typographic features and support for more than forty languages, Givry is neither derivative nor experimental, but historically accurate.

Of the many blackletter digital typefaces available, fraktur and all its connotations have become representative. In contrast, the bâtarde flamande is essentially non-existent in digital form, and has until now been overlooked.

Released in 2008 and available through TypeTogether, Givry provides designers and anyone searching for typographic expression a lively, delicate, and striking side to blackletter.

Givry was selected as one of Typographica’s favorite typefaces of 2008.