Used Typefaces: Fayon & Olicana

by jfjudah

“The wedding will be on a March evening,” she said.

“Good choice,” I replied. “Now describe what you want as the first impression and the lasting memory.”

“Classy. Simple. And Vintage. And elegant, of course. But not too swirly — I definitely want a script font in there, but it can’t be too swirly,” she said, confident of her distastes.

So, I thought to myself, a script is necessary, but paired with what? A classic face with a long history like Goudy Old Style or Baskerville or Hightower Text. That could be too staunch. Calluna would work great in almost any situation, but it’s being used a lot; I’ll keep that on the list of possibles. Maybe an updated Didot or Bodoni for refinement? That could work.

Wait, no, not at 8 or 9 points. That might be too small to see the details. “What type of paper are you printing on?” I asked.


Of course. Dangit. Watch the thins, I thought. But I’ve heard restraints make for good work. So I set to hunting.

A few rounds later, we landed on Peter Mohr’s Fayon (PDF) for text and Nick Cooke’s Olicana Smooth (with some tasteful swashes activated).

Olicana can feel masculine or feminine depending on how the OpenType features are used. As a typeface that is supposed to look handwritten, it is expressive and rhythmic, but not too regular.

Fayon is a fantastic rethinking of Didot, it fits the classy–simple–vintage bill, and the italics are especially elegant given how easily that period could go wrong by either looking cartoonish with weight placement or by not being distinct enough from the myriad other Didot-based faces.

She is ecstatic. She emailed something about, “Beautiful! It looks perfect. Those fonts are both lovely. Thank you for your expertise and artistic ability,” and included a smiley face.

No doubt it will be a great event. And I’m glad I could help.

Fayon, Olicana Wedding Invitation Sample

Fayon, Olicana Wedding Invitation Sample

Now for why this works. Yes, the basics are correct: it gets across the feel the client had in mind, it was within budget, and it was completed within the specified timeframe. But look at how the stroke contrast of the script matches that of the serif. The thicks and thins are practically identical, but there is the necessary difference between the two type choices to hint at hierarchy, and when printed it will look great. I’ve included an Olicana sample below.

Olicana Sample

Olicana Sample — notice how the alternate glyphs change the feel