Today we release Tick and Tock, two new typefaces by Cyrus Highsmith.
A game of chance requires some skill; a game of skill leaves little to chance. Cyrus rolled no dice for Tick and Tock; the fun he found in making legible letters using just a few parts was balanced by the challenge of following a strict system. There’s shared stencil DNA here, but they’re not exactly siblings — more like cousins on the court. Look closely to see how they each have their own strategy for working the clock and, like the best players, make the difficult look easy.
Stencils are something that Cyrus has always liked. Having taken hundreds of stencil photographs over the years, Tick and Tock were inevitable. In 2012, Tick was born on a book cover that Cyrus designed for the type design course he teaches at RISD. Later, as Tick evolved, Tock grew out of it to become a more mechanical but equally cool design. A close look at the course cover (below) seems to reveal their middle ground— the free lettering is more upright than Tick but certainly rougher than Tock.
Even though you can see one in the other, these fonts are not intended to combine. Tick and Tock have different proportions and distinct solutions for letterforms. And not all features are shared: Tick has unicase alternates (stylistic set 1) demonstrated in the first and middle lines of its specimen, but Tock does not. So what approach will you take? These two skillful typefaces open up the playing field—it should be a good game. •