Emery is inspired by an eye-opening experience I encountered while visiting Paris. Where I am from, in Singapore, burial grounds are dreary places rarely visited. In contrast, Parisian cemeteries are strikingly beautiful park-like places frequently enjoyed by visitors. Intrigued by this discovery, I decided to develop Emery as a way to capture and celebrate the ornate and classical elements of these sacred spaces.

The name, Emery pays homage to the stone mason’s tools. Emery shares its name with the dark granular rock from which the abrasive powder, used to create tools capable of carving into stone, is made. Hence through out the process of creating the typeface, constant reference to stone carvings were made; such as starting with a flat brush instead of a calligraphic pen, as suggested by Edward M. Catich that brush is the underlining layer used before the carvings were made.

In addition, inspired by the sharp chiseled type adorning tombstones, the capitals are based on the classic proportions of Trajan. Despite the many hard angles, the counters maintain a roundness that creates a contrasting softness in the typeface. Some letters – like ‘R’ and ‘K’ also have slightly curved terminals that further blend these hard and soft characteristics. The distinctive design of the letter “Q” and ‘y” introduce an expressive edge, while special attention was placed on the numbers and ligatures to provide both old style and lining text figures.

Emery currently consists of two weights roman and black. The intention is to expand the family to include an italic while also exploring the idea of erosion through a stencil character set. Symmetrical serifs and a medium weight provide an even texture to text. The letterforms are designed as a display typeface for posters or headlines, and performs best when set at 16 points and above. An optional set of alternates is available when a more modern tone is desired.

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