Steven Heller’s Font of the Month: Juma

It’s unclear to me as I write this whether I’ve selected Juma, created by Brazilian lettering artist Cyla Costa for Naipe Foundry, because is it absurd or audacious, comically Surreal, or unrepentantly impractical. Although a few of the specimens prove otherwise. It’s certainly not a display typeface that can be juxtaposed along with other faces too easily. Nonetheless, that is a challenge worth attempting. It is a face, however, that allows for a variety of eccentric custom iterations and wild interpretations.

For instance, the fluid shapes and curved configurations suggest curvilinear pencils with sharpened points, birds’ beaks, women’s breast, and other surprising “easter eggs”.

Juma is definitely not an all-purpose font family, and it’s clearly not a random design. Rooted in a Brazilian color sensibility, it’s very consistent with its neo-psychedelic styling. The user definitely has to buy into the aesthetic before getting deeply committed. In other words, Juma has to be used with a purpose in mind. Included in the collection is Juma Monochrome which invites the user to customize the color palette.

The font is as much an illustration as it is a typeface, so it needs space to illuminate. The user must be aware that for whatever theme it’s being used, for Juma to achieve impact it must be made extremely large.

Font of the Month: Juma
Designers: Cyla Costa, Álvaro Franca, Felipe Casaprima Foundry: Naipe Foundry

Steven Heller is nothing short of a legend in the design community. Award-winning graphic designer, author and editor of hundreds of books (yes, 100s!) and one of the world’s foremost authorities on graphic design history; and arguably its best design commentator. Follow Steven on the must-read The Daily Heller and read his latest book, Growing Up Underground: A Memoir of Counterculture New York.

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