Sirenia is a New Typeface Designed by Nature

Sirenia is a friendly display face with rounded corners and flowing transitions. The letters have a very organic look and feel, as if naturally grown. There are clear calligraphic influences in the typeface, since the letterforms are based on a written construction, all drawn with a single stroke.

With nine weights and corresponding italics, the typeface offers a wide range of expressions: If the light weights appear elegant and filigree, the typeface changes its character to a dynamic brush typeface in the medium weights, and in the heavy weights it takes on a fun, almost psychedelic bubblegum aesthetic. Sirenia’s 1270 characters contain many decorative letters and swash variations for initial, medial and final letters. This is an easy way to create lively logotypes, matching the respective letter combination.

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The design process of Sirenia started twenty years ago with a student project at the University of Applied Sciences Trier with Prof. Andreas Hogan. Using the Blend Fonts feature of the type design software Fontographer, Felix Braden tried to interpolate different type styles and take inspiration for new letterforms from the fragmentary results. By blending a script with a sans serif typeface, he developed the idea of an upright cursive that combines rounded drop-like serifs with the upstrokes of a handwritten script. The project was later published as a single font under the name “Sadness” by the famous foundry of Swedish type designer Peter Bruhn, who died unexpectedly in 2014.

Two years ago, he stumbled upon his old designs again and was surprised by the good legibility and relevance of the design. The organic shapes and ornamental curves made the font look like a contemporary antithesis to the minimalism of Geometric Sans. He decided to expand the font as a family and completely rework it.
He started with manual drawings and quickly realised that the contrasts between angular and rounded terminals were too much for a single typeface. Therefore, he drew consistent shapes that reminded him of flowing, melting forms. This changed the design so much that he decided to rename the typeface “Sirenia” – a reference to the hanging snouts of manatees.

In the last step, he added numerous alternative letters to the alphabet. The nature-inspired design simply made sense to have ornaments grow and flourish. So there is at least one alternative for each letter and three or four variants for the majority of them, giving the user lots of options for combining letters in a lively and expressive way.

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