The spark for Moriston came from an unexpected source during my first visit to New York City in the fall of 2013. While waiting outside the Evolution store on Spring St. between Greene and Mercer in Soho, I saw a 50’s Rollfast bicycle leaning against a tree.
The design of the bicycle itself was gorgeous, and there was something special about the characterful R monogram on the bike frame. Yet, it was the logotype that really caught my eye.
Set in ultra-bold, italic, high contrast sans-serif caps, its letterforms were familiar, but struck me as an under-explored genre in type.
It occurred to me that if you stripped away the idiosyncrasies, these letterforms were more or less gothic sans caps. Although there are many ways of looking at what these forms could be with less contrast, I saw them as similar to the Benton Gothics.
What would happen if an entire family was built this way? An early 20th century grotesque, shifted into new territory through noticeable higher contrast? Could the increased contrast modify the aesthetic tone without sacrificing legibility, or feeling forced?
One influence was Miller & Richard's Grotesque #7, produced around the turn of the century. It was around this time that the sans-serif really came into its own, with type designers like Miller & Richards in Scotland, Morris Fuller Benton in the US, and others influencing each other and sharing ideas across the globe.
I liked the idea that Miller & Richards work must have crossed the sea at some point and arrived in NYC. My family on my mother’s side did the same, immigrating from Scotland to Ellis Island at a similar point in time. My grandfather Glenn Morison Chronister, was actually named after a place in Scotland: Glenmoriston. This is a river glen in the Scottish Highlands that feeds Loch Ness.
I never got a chance to meet Glenn, but I grew up in a family that always told me I was the son he never had, and that he would be interested in the work I was doing. Seizing the opportunity to honor his name, and the birth country of my family on both sides, the typeface is named Moriston.
At first, light
Moriston’s contrast and fuller, rounder curves give it a certain sparkle both in print and on screen. The bolder weights have character, while the lighter weights are functional in larger pieces of text and offer a more neutral feeling without losing heart. Moriston includes a variety of features including small caps, multiple figure styles and support for 224 languages.