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High Times

Font by Tilo Pentzin

Posted by Gestalten—05/2014

High Times takes its inspiration from the eras of Art Deco and Art Nouveau but with a radically contemporary approach. This retro font boasts simple shapes and reduced ornamental structures, yet still yielding an overall Jugendstil-influenced look and feel. Ideal for headlines, High Times can also be utilized for editorial copy due to a vast array of alternate letterforms, numerals, and initials, giving the user multiple options for flexible and exciting text design.

The typeface comes in two different versions, Regular and Goofy, so really it's a 2-for-1 deal. The glyphs for both styles are high and condensed, yet the Regular is more elegant and slightly fragile as it features modern stroke weights and partial serifs. The Goofy has a heavier uniform line weight, giving a far more stable and sans serif impression.


Please give us an introduction to yourself and your work.
My name is Tilo Pentzin. Living in the Baltic Sea region, I am a designer with strong interest in typography, editorial and brand design. In winter 2012/2013, I successfully finished my studies with a diploma degree at the University of Wismar/ Hochschule Wismar.

What was your main intention when drawing the typeface High Times?
The intention behind High Times was to create a decorative headline and corporate typeface for the young and alternative surf label High 5 Hang 10. The font and its two different styles–Regular and Goofy–were drawn for the large dimensions of the corporate newspaper called logbook from H5H10. That is also why the glyphs of this font were shaped rather high and condensed.

Is there any historical background, which you see High Times is related to or are you free from any kind of relation and just following your intuition?
No, no, I did not only follow my intuition. The creation of font High Times is influenced by Art Deco and Art Nouveau/Jugendstil as it is the surf label the type was designed for. H5H10 is supposed to be an alternative to the big mainstream of surf sports, and Art Deco as well as Art Nouveau are used to make the typeface different. It's not that colorful, not that loud, not too much like the big brands, but rather with more sense and heart. It's a simple and reduced language of shapes that is drafted with elements of retro design.

From where does the name come?
The font's name expresses the joy and "high times" you have and feels as an enthusiastic surfer out on the water. The two terms of style Regular and Goofy describe the two kinds of board-sport dudes. The "regular," classic guy puts his left foot in the front, and the "goofy," grotesque guy puts his right one first. :-)

How do you see the creative potential of your typeface? In which application do you see the typeface at most and are there any special features?
The creative potential of the font lies in the special way it has been approached in the design. The font is not declined from thin to heavy, but is reduced to its two type of styles. These styles are quite similar as the same proportions have been used. However, due to the differences in the stroke width, the profiles bring along enough contrast.

The Regular style appears quite classy with its strong thick-thin contrast between hairline and mean line. The glyphs of the Goofy style, on the other hand, barely show any thick-thin contrast. Consequently, it rather comes around like a grotesque font that is more modern. This combination along with its blending and play options makes the font interesting already. Further creative features and opportunities are offered by a variety of alternative characters and ligatures for minuscules and capital letters. Although the font is built out quite good and works with many languages, I see it primarily being used as a decorative headline font in the design of journals.

Is there any designer or typographer who has inspired you or you still feel influenced by?
Yes, of course. I come across inspiring people, designers, and typographers that influence me and my work everyday. These encounters can be in person or via Internet. For the shape of High Times, there is no direct role model, but to name one classical and one current example, I really treasure the work of Herb Lubalin, and the design creation of the English bureau "Julia" inspired me a lot as well.

Do you develop typefaces because there is a need for it in the daily graphic design business or do you create type because of the typographical challenges? And what triggers you when starting a new typeface, or are you always addressing a particular design problem?
Oh, I haven’t designed too many typefaces yet, so I cannot answer this question all the way. In fact, High Times is my first complete font. Until now I have rather designed some glyphs for wordmarks, signs, and logos or have started some font-experiments. The main function of these letters was to give identity with the best potential. Also, the High Times was designed to solve some typographical challenges, just like to set in type in high and narrow dimensions of this newspaper.

Do you have a working routine? What are your ideal conditions for you to work in?
No, I don't really have a straight working routine, but the way I approach a new problem or task is always similar. For the start, I usually do some research on the subject matter so that I can get into the topic. At this first step, I like to be on my own in private, but if I have come up with some ideas on how to approach the topic, I would really like to exchange views with somebody. I then consider with which way I can solve the problems or complete the tasks while achieving the best results. So the ideal working condition for me is to work with a small team of like-minded people, having enough creative space for everybody of us. And maybe a surfable wave during the lunch break would be quite nice. :-)