The Birth of Allrounder
The Allrounder type system seems to have been here forever—at least to me. But, amazingly, there was a point in history where its idea only just materialised.
Back in 2015, when I started designing type, I was sure about one thing: that I’d never create a boring old grotesk. That conviction accrued from negative comments to other people’s designs I frequently encountered in the type forums I was visiting. Statements in the vein of “Oh no, not another dull grotesk“ when a new one was released. A newbie in the world of type, I was intimidated. I did not want to attract negative attention.
The turning point came about two years later. I was attending the Expert class Type design in Antwerp and designed a revival of Robert Granjon’s Ascendonica Romaine (which was to become Allrounder Antiqua much later). After graduating I thought about adding a matching sans typeface but didn’t start just yet. Fortunately!
In autumn 2018, some weeks after the graduation ceremony, I was visiting Rome for the first time in my life. Inspired by the sheer amount of majestic ancient Roman inscriptions, I started to design an inscriptional font (which was to become Allrounder Monument much later).
I now had two serif typefaces and a plan to add a matching sans for one of them. You might be asking the same thing now that I asked myself: Why just for one? Go big or go home! At the very next moment, I was determined to create an entirely new type system with a neutral sans that perfectly matches a beautiful serif typeface—but also the monumental inscriptional font. My previously dreaded Grotesk was about to come true.
Now I just needed an occasion to start. An excuse, if you will. That excuse came on New Year's Eve, 2018. We happened to stay home and didn’t have any special plans for the night. Going to bed before the fireworks was out of the question, of course. Voilà: I just had won some extra hours to design a typeface. So I started drawing the first curves of Allrounder Grotesk, took a break at midnight, treated myself to the skyrockets display, then quickly returned to the desk and continued to work for a few more hours. I was hooked.
I’m writing this in 2024, a little more than 5 years after that New Year’s Eve. I just released a huge update to the Allrounder Family. My customers’ standards have risen and so have mine. I have learned a lot during the short but intense time I’ve managed my own type foundry and felt it would be apt to infuse this new knowledge into my flagship superfamily.
In this update, all typefaces have been revised, redone, redrawn and finally re-released. The Grotesk got two lean siblings (Condensed and Compressed). A matching monospace was added. And within this very year, we’ll welcome two entirely new Allrounder typefaces: Allrounder Didone—with a Display and a Text version—and Allrounder Baroque, which is very much in progress but already looking crisp. The family grows, and there’s no sign of stopping anytime soon!