Otherwhere Collective
no meal 'til breakfast—no meal 'til breakfast—
no meal 'til breakfast—no meal 'til breakfast—

OC Carpe Noctem

A seamless fusion of traditional techniques with digital innovation.

A variable blackletter font, Carpe Noctem serves as a proof of concept, seizing an opportunity for research and discovery by merging the tactile, creative process of handcrafted calligraphy with the precision and flexibility of digital tools.

This encourages experimentation and innovation, offering a welcome departure from screen-based work while still capitalizing on its benefits. Handcrafted letters that are locked in paper as ink are liberated as a variable font which allows real-time adjustments to height ratios, spacing, color, and sizing providing immediate flexibility and control.

A hybrid approach fosters a symbiotic relationship where each discipline and medium informs and enhances the other. When engaging in handcrafted techniques, we develop a deep understanding of craftsmanship, honing skills in tactile creation and fostering a keen eye for detail. These skills are then brought into the digital space, where they inform the design process, imbuing digital creations with a sense of authenticity and character that is often difficult to achieve through purely digital means.

The font is named Carpe Noctem as a tribute to all of the projects that get done after hours; when the phone stops ringing, emails stop coming, the kids have gone to bed, and there’s no meal ’til breakfast.

Carpe Noctem, meaning ‘Seize the Night,’ stands in contrast to the well-known Latin phrase Carpe Diem, which means ‘Seize the Day’.”

NB. Entry level calligraphy ahead.

OC Carpe Noctem
A seamless fusion of traditional techniques with digital innovation.

A variable blackletter font, Carpe Noctem serves as a proof of concept, seizing an opportunity for research and discovery by merging the tactile, creative process of handcrafted calligraphy with the precision and flexibility of digital tools.

This encourages experimentation and innovation, offering a welcome departure from screen-based work while still capitalizing on its benefits. Handcrafted letters that are locked in paper as ink are liberated as a variable font which allows real-time adjustments to height ratios, spacing, color, and sizing providing immediate flexibility and control.

A hybrid approach fosters a symbiotic relationship where each discipline and medium informs and enhances the other. When engaging in handcrafted techniques, we develop a deep understanding of craftsmanship, honing skills in tactile creation and fostering a keen eye for detail. These skills are then brought into the digital space, where they inform the design process, imbuing digital creations with a sense of authenticity and character that is often difficult to achieve through purely digital means.

The font is named Carpe Noctem as a tribute to all of the projects that get done after hours; when the phone stops ringing, emails stop coming, the kids have gone to bed, and there’s no meal ’til breakfast.

Carpe Noctem, meaning ‘Seize the Night,’ stands in contrast to the well-known Latin phrase Carpe Diem, which means ‘Seize the Day’.”

NB. Entry level calligraphy ahead.

Write

Multiple versions of each letter of the alphabet were written using a Pilot Parallel 6mm • Multiple versions of each letter of the alphabet were written using a Pilot Parallel 6mm •

Scan

The letters were then scanned • The letters were then scanned •

Trace

The scans were converted into scalable vectors to be taken across to the font software • The scans were converted into scalable vectors to be taken across to the font software •
Write
Multiple versions of each letter of the alphabet were written using a Pilot Parallel 6mm • Multiple versions of each letter of the alphabet were written using a Pilot Parallel 6mm •
Scan
The letters were then scanned • The letters were then scanned •
Trace
The scans were converted into scalable vectors to be taken across to the font software • The scans were converted into scalable vectors to be taken across to the font software •
mighty mouse wonder elephant written in carpe noctem variable blackletter font
spandex written in carpe noctem variable blackletter font

Pilot Parallel 6.0mm [Alt+P]

π
Pilot Parallel 6.0mm
π

Horizontal Grid

Horizontal grids are set in evenly spaced “units”; one unit is the width of the nib being used to write with, in this case a 6mm Pilot Parallel pen. For blackletter text, a 2-4-2 ratio is common. Using the variable axes the ratio of Carpe Noctem is adjustable, starting at a 1-5-1 ratio. • Horizontal grids are set in evenly spaced “units”; one unit is the width of the nib being used to write with, in this case a 6mm Pilot Parallel pen. For blackletter text, a 2-4-2 ratio is common. Using the variable axes the ratio of Carpe Noctem is adjustable, starting at a 1-5-1 ratio. •

Vertical Rhythm

In theory the width between vertical strokes and between letters should be the same as the width of the stems, on an evenly spaced vertical grid. This has been used as a guide rather than dogma, and there is some kerning in the font to adjust for the appearance of larger spaces caused by certain adjacent creating negative space. • In theory the width between vertical strokes and between letters should be the same as the width of the stems, on an evenly spaced vertical grid. This has been used as a guide rather than dogma, and there is some kerning in the font to adjust for the appearance of larger spaces caused by certain adjacent creating negative space. •
Horizontal Grid
Horizontal grids are set in evenly spaced “units”; one unit is the width of the nib being used to write with, in this case a 6mm Pilot Parallel pen. For blackletter text, a 2-4-2 ratio is common. Using the variable axes the ratio of Carpe Noctem is adjustable, starting at a 1-5-1 ratio. • Horizontal grids are set in evenly spaced “units”; one unit is the width of the nib being used to write with, in this case a 6mm Pilot Parallel pen. For blackletter text, a 2-4-2 ratio is common. Using the variable axes the ratio of Carpe Noctem is adjustable, starting at a 1-5-1 ratio. •
Vertical Rhythm
In theory the width between letters should be the same as the width of the stems, on an evenly spaced vertical grid. This has been used as a guide rather than dogma, and there is some kerning in the font to adjust for the appearance of larger spaces caused by certain adjacent creating negative space • In theory the width between letters should be the same as the width of the stems, on an evenly spaced vertical grid. This has been used as a guide rather than dogma, and there is some kerning in the font to adjust for the appearance of larger spaces caused by certain adjacent creating negative space •

Height

The Height axis adjusts the x-height / waist • The Height axis adjusts the x-height / waist •
abc

Heads

The Heads axis adjust the height of the ascenders • The Heads axis adjust the height of the ascenders •
bhkvw

Tails

The Tails axis adjusts the depth of the descenders • The Tails axis adjusts the depth of the descenders •
fhjkmnpq
Height
The Height axis adjusts the x-height / waist • The Height axis adjusts the x-height / waist •
abc
Heads
The Heads axis adjust the height of the ascenders • The Heads axis adjust the height of the ascenders •
bhkvw
Tails
The Tails axis adjusts the depth of the descenders • The Tails axis adjusts the depth of the descenders •
fhjkmnpq

Axes in Action

Using the variable axes to create customized display text in real time • Using the variable axes to create customized display text in real time •
Axes in Action
Using the variable axes to create customized display text in real time • Using the variable axes to create customized display text in real time •
mighty mouse wonder elephant written in carpe noctem variable blackletter font
spandex written in carpe noctem variable blackletter font

Alts E S X

At max height the letters in this example create a lot of negative space that breaks the vertical rhythm of the text — the alts are used to close the space and restore the rhythm • At max height the letters in this example create a lot of negative space that breaks the vertical rhythm of the text — the alts are used to close the space and restore the rhythm •

Alts A R

The flourish on the 'a' fills some space and balances with the bar on the 'e'— the 'half r' distributes the negative space on the right side of the 'r' more evenly • The flourish on the 'a' fills some space and balances with the bar on the 'e'— the 'half r' distributes the negative space on the right side of the 'r' more evenly •
Alts E S X
At max height the letters in this example create a lot of negative space that breaks the vertical rhythm of the text — the alts are used to close the space and restore the rhythm • At max height the letters in this example create a lot of negative space that breaks the vertical rhythm of the text — the alts are used to close the space and restore the rhythm •
Alts A R
The flourish on the 'a' fills some space and balances with the bar on the 'e'— the 'half r' distributes the negative space on the right side of the 'r' more evenly • The flourish on the 'a' fills some space and balances with the bar on the 'e'— the 'half r' distributes the negative space on the right side of the 'r' more evenly •

ss05

Adds a flourish to the 'a' • Adds a flourish to the 'a' •
a

ss06

Stem drawn in a single line without the diamond at the top • Stem drawn in a single line without the diamond at the top •
ij

ss07

Has an extra stroke to minimize negative space at taller heights • Has an extra stroke to minimize negative space at taller heights •
e

ss08

Has an extra stroke to minimize negative space at taller heights • Has an extra stroke to minimize negative space at taller heights •
s

ss09

An alternative that has lessnegative space than the traditional design • An alternative that has lessnegative space than the traditional design •
x

ss10

A 'half r' that was traditionally used when the letter followed a character with a rounded stroke on the right side • A 'half r' that was traditionally used when the letter followed a character with a rounded stroke on the right side •
r

Omega

Alt+Z on the keyboard is the new Omega glyph which indicates the axes values of the variable font • Alt+Z on the keyboard is the new Omega glyph which indicates the axes values of the variable font •
Ω

Ligatures

To prevent collisions and to tighten spacing between certain pairings, some ligatures deviate from the height parameters, adding a musical quality to text • To prevent collisions and to tighten spacing between certain pairings, some ligatures deviate from the height parameters, adding a musical quality to text •
cc ee fa ff ffi ffl fi fj fl ft ri rr ss tt cc ee fa ff ffi ffl fi fj fl ft ri rr ss tt
fifth flurry written in variable blackletter font carpe noctem to show ligatures in use
Omega
Alt+Z on the keyboard is the new Omega glyph which indicates the axes values of the variable font • Alt+Z on the keyboard is the new Omega glyph which indicates the axes values of the variable font •
Ω
Ligatures
To prevent collisions and to tighten spacing between certain pairings, some ligatures deviate from the height parameters, adding a musical quality to text • To prevent collisions and to tighten spacing between certain pairings, some ligatures deviate from the height parameters, adding a musical quality to text •
cc ee fa ff ffi ffl fi fj fl ft ri rr ss tt cc ee fa ff ffi ffl fi fj fl ft ri rr ss tt
daily news written in variable blackletter font carpe noctem
daily news written in variable blackletter font carpe noctem
no guts no glory st marks wrestling written in variable blackletter font carpe noctem
white snow written in variable blackletter font carpe noctem
no guts no glory st marks wrestling written in variable blackletter font carpe noctem
white snow written in variable blackletter font carpe noctem

OG Tester

young dynamite

Full Width Tester

dance control

Pangram

Seize the night crew vexed a kumquat, big up yourself. Ω

Glyph Set

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz.,:;-‘’–—™®

Static Styles

1-5-1
2-5-2
3-5-3
1-6-1
2-6-2
3-6-3
1-7-1
2-7-2
3-7-3
1-8-1
2-8-2
3-8-3
FOR FULL EXPERIENCE BEST VIEWED ON DESKTOP FOR FULL EXPERIENCE BEST VIEWED ON DESKTOP FOR FULL EXPERIENCE BEST VIEWED ON DESKTOP FOR FULL EXPERIENCE BEST VIEWED ON DESKTOP

DEMO Download

Variable and static files for desktop and web. [2.9mb]

DEMO Download
Variable and static files for desktop and web. [2.9mb]

Specimen

For more information download the Type Specimen PDF [2.3mb].

Bespoke Services

If you love an Otherwhere font and feel that some customization will make it even more perfect for you or your client's needs get in touch we'd love to discuss it with you. ♥
• Re-naming
• Alternates Configuration
• Glyph Set & Language Extension
• Wordmark Design
• Font Customization
• Font From Scratch

Reference

Johannes Gutenberg (1393–1468) 
A German inventor and craftsman who invented the movable-type printing press. He carved a textualis typeface—including a large number of ligatures and common abbreviations—when he printed his 42-line Bible

Frederic Goudy (1865–1947)
An American printer, artist and type designer whose typefaces include Copperplate GothicGoudy Old Style and Kennerley. One of the most prolific of American type designers, he also designed the blackletter font Goudy Text (1928, Continental, later Lanston Monotype) “text” is short for textura.

Rudolf Koch (1876–1934)
A German type designer, professor, and a master of lettering, calligraphytypography and illustration. Commonly known for his typefaces created for the Klingspor Type Foundry, his most widely used typefaces include Neuland and Kabel. In 1921 he wrote the book Das Schreiben als Kunstfertigkeit (Writing as a skill), which gives a detailed guide to learning how to write blackletter calligraphy in his signature style. 

Jake Rainis
A calligraphy artist from Boston specializing in typographic arts. His goal is to spread awareness of this culture and help aspiring artists find success in their creative endeavors. Check his website here. 

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