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Nov 22, 2016

Sueca — The DNA of Svenska Dagbladet

written by Anna Thurfjell
Sueca — The DNA of Svenska Dagbladet

Sueca is the design DNA of Svenska Dagbladet, the one thing that give all different products of Svenska Dagbladet a clear connection. Today it’s really important to develop a clear digital DNA.  SvD was early, with an introduction of a web version of the customised Sueca, already in 2011.

I was invited to speak in Stockholm, the 7th of december, about »Sueca« and my design for Svenska Dagbladet, where I was Creative Director between 2003-2013, so I decided to also update my blog about the work.

The project to develop Sueca started in 2008. It was a big step and decision to decide to develop a customised typeface but it was also the engine, the main inspiration for the whole design, in the redesign project to be launched 2009 and in the following years developments. The old typeface in SvD was »Poynter« by Tobias-Frere Jones and in my opinion »an alien«. It was hard to read Swedish in this narrow serif and it started to feel out of date. My aim with the new type design was to make SvD more unique, with a clear visual identity that stood out. SvD has always been known for it’s sharp and intelligent style of writing and what could be a better way to express the quality of words than with a quality typeface?

»The design of Sueca was so far the most challenging and exciting type design project that I’ve been involved in«. Mário Feliciano 

It struck me, when seeing Mário Felicianos typefaces, they where so clearly different from anything else I had seen, so distinct, so Portuguese, so beautiful. Mário has made a couple of typefaces for news media: »Expresso« for the Portuguese weekly: Expresso, »Majerit« for Spanish daily: El Pais and the sans »Flama«, used in Politiken, Denmark and many other news media publications. Mário also designed some really beautiful book typefaces inspired by the great Spanish typeface designers during the 1700-1800 century. I think his combination of doing strong display fonts but also mastering the body text typography is his strength. It has been a fantastic journey to work with this typeface, also it is a wonderful experience to work with Mário.

»I think I’m able to bring all my other interest into my designs in a very subtle way. My involvement in surf, music production, classic cars and even table tennis, certainly affects the way I design typefaces« Mário Feliciano

Mário started the work with designing, in my professional judgement, one of the best news body text typefaces I have seen; Sueca text. He cared a lot for making it a good reading experience for the Swedish language and therefore it’s really breathing in a beautiful way. The Sueca Family was meant to be a serif style and sans style in the beginning, however it has continuously developed through the years in the design projects at SvD. Each style is unique, that means no compromises, and each style of Sueca is designed for its purposes. Mario’s drive was — To be able to speak in the same style, same character but with a little bit of a different tone of voice. It’s today a family of 8 styles in several weights, it contains a serif text font, display serif font, a serif deck font, a sans font for text, a display and a sans table font called »Sueca Nano«, a slab, a magazine style serif display font called »Sueca Banner«and the web version of Sueca, last developed in 2015.

Today we read news in social media, it’s more likely we started reading a story on facebook than on cnn.com. Often we probably are not aware exactly where we read a news story. As a designer it is one of the most important task we have today to make the reader feel secure, where he/she is landed on the site I designed. It’s a lot about typography. I’m certain the reader feel a difference when reading Sueca. In 2015, Sueca was hinted by hand by Göran Söderström at Letters from Sweden, for the new www.SvD.se fully responsive site and I was consulted to look at the hinting and recommend the sizes for all headlines. It is an amazing feeling to see how well Sueca works both in print and on screen.

Typeface designer: Mário Feliciano, Feliciano Typeface Foundry, Lisbon, Portugal. (http://www.felicianotypefoundry.com/cms/)

Anna Thurfjell, Commissioning and art directing the customised typeface Sueca for SvD in 2008.