Underware is a design studio specializing in original, contemporary type designs with attitude and nuance.
One example, the Sauna family, called by its creators “a typeface for all sizes,” consists of 18 fonts, including two italic styles, ligatures, and five quirky sauna-inspired dingbat fonts. The typeface is unexpected. Large point sizes offer puffy, sassy headlines, while smaller sizes become delicate and pristinely legible.
The Underware website offers formidable insight into Sauna and the studio’s other faces. Here, type is not presented as an artifact or a mere sales item; it is portrayed and marketed as a creation, the result of a prolonged artistic process. Underware fonts have individual personalities and, for each, there is biographical detail.
The site includes type in animation, samples of type in use featuring other designers’ work, PDFs for type demos and, unusually, related stories. The text is informative, often amusing, and technically astute.
Bello, a recent Underware release designated the typographic mate of Sauna, simulates fluently written handwriting (in script and small caps intended for headlines). The underlying sketches are compelling, as is the informative detailed text on the design’s evolution and the repeated tagline: “Bello: trust the brush.” Auto, another recent release, is described as a triple-italic sans serif. The rationale for these varied but related italics is to provide a solution for complicated typographic tasks. “Synergize their forces,” Underware demands. “Get these three italics rolling.”
Underware is Akiem Helmling, Bas Jacobs, and Sami Kortemäki. Individually, these designers run their own studios. Collectively they are Underware.