• 1 minute Read

Helvetica And Garamond Glasses Turn Fonts Into Frames

A Japanese designer has translated two of the world’s most famous fonts into a line of eyeglasses.

If you’re the sort of person who always looks upon the world through the discriminating lenses of type design, great news! You can now literally wear eyeglasses based on fonts thanks to Type a new line of Japanese glasses. Inspired by two classic fonts–Garamond and Helvetica–each family of glasses comes in three separate weights: light, regular, and bold.

The visual association with Garamond and Helvetica isn’t just name deep. These glasses really do look like the fonts they are named for. Helvetica’s sans-serif design, created in 1957 by Max Miedinger at Switzerland’s Haas Type Foundry, was originally meant to be neutral while emphasizing clarity. This aspect of Helvetica as a typeface is reflected quite accurately by Type’s eponymous line of glasses, where the character of Helvetica’s ascenders, spines, and terminals are mirrored pretty much exactly in the bridge, temples, and fronts of the frame. Just as Helvetica is a font for the unpresumptuous, the Helvetica glasses are for people who don’t want to be thought of as wearing glasses.


The character of the Garamond glasses is quite different: they are for bookish intellectuals who revel in wearing a pair of specs. Like the typeface, Garamond features a round, pronounced design, where the link and ear of a Garamond ‘g’ becomes mirrored in the frame’s own end pieces and temple covers. There’s something retro but slightly gittish about them: the kind of glasses that Gussie Fink-Nottle would wear to an evening at the Drone’s Club.

Starting January 30, you should be able to buy a pair of Helvetica or Garamond frames for ¥24,150, or around $231. They are unisex, although it goes without saying that these glasses would look best with some typographically correct facial hair.


Given how attractive these first pairs are, my fingers are crossed that Type decides to extend the line. Imagine Tobias Frere-Jones symbolically crushing a pair of Hoefler-inspired glasses under heel, or Wes Anderson showing up to Sundance in a pair of slick Futura glasses. Me, though? When it comes to a pair of specs, the only ones that suit my face are Comic Sans. Get on it, Type!

About the author

John Brownlee is a design writer who lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. You can email him at john.brownlee+fastco@gmail.com.

More

Video