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“Readability doesn’t need to be dull.”

In 2016, when PampaType released Francisco Gálvez’s Chercán, it was an oasis of personality in a desert of generic sans serifs. Now, after expanding the family to include polytonic Greek and releasing it on Type Network, Chercán is ready to sing in more than 200 languages.

Chercán is the Chilean name for troglodytes aedon, or house wren; it’s a little, round, melodious bird with a classic, distinctive birdsong. Much like the bird for which it’s named, PampaType’s Chercán adds spirit and rhythm to its environment.

When setting out to design Chercán, Gálvez sought to prove that “readability doesn’t need to be dull.” He wanted to create a typeface that was functional at small sizes and beautiful in display—a face that would combine “versatility, legibility, spiciness, and elegance.” No small task.

Source: Francisco Gálvez Pizarro and PampaType. License: All Rights Reserved.

To make it work, Gálvez found inspiration in two of his favorite classics: Copperplate Gothic by Frederic Goudy and Antique Olive by Roger Excoffon. You can see the influences of these designs in Chercán’s flared stroke endings and reverse contrast, both of which contribute to its readability and personality.

Chercán’s tiny, flared serifs help build an enjoyable reading experience in both text and display sizes. At small scales and in the lighter weights, Chercán’s mini serifs almost melt away, becoming small dark tips, which can ground the letters and lead the reader’s eyes. In display environments, the serifs and open counters imbue text with a uniquely friendly personality, without sacrificing authority.

Gálvez designed Chercán to be usable in a wide variety of typographic environments, so he included six weights across roman, cursive, small caps, and cursive small caps, each featuring flared serifs. Source: Francisco Gálvez Pizarro and PampaType. License: All Rights Reserved.

Most Latin typefaces are thicker along the vertical strokes and thinner along the horizontal strokes; Chercán—like Antique Olive—inverts this practice, adding weight to the horizontals. This contrast reversal is the key to the face’s approachability. Indeed, as Chercán’s weight increases, so does its contrast.

The ratio of thick to thin increases as the weight increases. This decision allows the typographer to maintain supreme readability at text-appropriate weights while adding ever-more personality as one starts setting display text. Source: Francisco Gálvez Pizarro and PampaType. License: All Rights Reserved.

Argentinian type designer Sol Matas reviewed Chercán for Typographica back in 2017, writing:

In Chercán, we find a wonderful a that we fall in love with at first sight, a unique g with a surprising twirl, an energetic ampersand, a set of strong figures, and beautiful currency symbols that reveal a great dedication to detail. Chercán also has alternates for E, G, K, P, g and l, which allows designers to distinguish a headline or special word in a composition.

Blotter Atelier, a French clothing brand, uses Chercán for everything, leveraging the typeface’s readability and personality within each page’s composition. Source: www.blotteratelier.com License: All Rights Reserved.

Beyond those glyphs and alternates, Chercán is full of extra goodies: Regular and narrow diacritics covering more than 200 languages, vast ordinal options, proportional and tabular currency symbols, small caps, arrows, and unique bird pointers, featuring the face’s namesake.

Like all PampaType fonts, Chercán can be licensed for print, web, mobile apps, and ePubs. Webfonts may be tested for thirty days, and desktop trials are available upon request.