18 November 2012


I recently read an interesting typographical piece over at ilovetypography.com about Krulletter - a traditional script letterform which appears on 'brown bar' windows in and around the De Pijp and the Jordaan areas of Amsterdam. Because it is becoming an increasingly rare sight as premises develop, change hands and close - and using these circumstances as the root - a new typeface called 'Krul' has been developed to help continue this fine Amsterdam legacy. With an upcoming trip to the city already planned (for Museumnacht - check it out) I decided not to miss out on seeing this type firsthand and so, upon my arrival, headed over to the Jordaan area for some Krul-lurking.

Almost straight away, my first example leapt from a pub window. It's a beautiful script and (type nerds unite!) exciting to see in context knowing it's part of a dying signwriting art form. It really does stand out with ornate curling swashes and super-thin thins. So much so that any modern revivalist scripts spotted on windows stick really stick out - there was definitely a bit of a Snell Roundhand party taking place on other pub/cafe windows. However, when photographing this type on glass, there were a couple of examples which had me wondering if they were original Krulletter or noble attempts to replicate the traditional neighbourhood style. Which brings me back to the original source of this expedition.

Ramiro Espinoza's effort in resurrecting Krulletter from the brink with revivalist typeface Krul feels like a worthy and correct endeavour. I understand the font is created with contemporary rationale for print and onscreen use, but if you open a bar in Amsterdam, and you can't use actual Krulletter, why settle for an anachronistic modern imitation script when you can, with Krul, have a typeface crafted with a warmth and understanding for the original sign writers favourite?