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Occupant Fonts

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Scout and Heron Serif explore new horizons

Two type families from Cyrus Highsmith spruce up their language skills.

Occupant Fonts continues its push to bring its classics up to speed with present-day technological requirements. This time, the team has extended Scout and Heron Serif’s character sets with the Greek and Cyrillic alphabets.

Specimen of Scout Cyrillic and Greek
Scout’s round characters become straight-sided in the condensed widths, a distinct design trait echoed in the newly added Cyrillic and Greek alphabets.

Interestingly, both families started out as custom typefaces. The Scout series debuted in 2008 in the redesigned Entertainment Weekly, marking the magazine’s first typographic update in a decade. Geraldine Hessler, the design director from 1997 to 2008, commissioned a custom type family and logotype from Cyrus Highsmith, who explored DIN, Bauer’s Venus, and Niebolo’s Cairoli—all designs whose rounded characters become straight-sided when condensed. Highsmith used his findings to develop Scout as a display face in six weights in normal and condensed widths, a four-weight text variant with adapted spacing and character drawings, and a Reading Edge version optimized for screen rendering.

Heron was originally commissioned for Men’s Health by art director Joe Heroun, who requested a sturdy, hardworking typeface. Although inspired by machine-made, mechanical forms, Highsmith infused warmth and energy into this dependable and versatile family. Heron Serif comes in five weights in regular and condensed widths that are as at ease in display settings as they are in small sizes. The family has a sans-serif counterpart, too; Heron Serif and Heron are cousins that not only combine well, but also stand just fine on their own.

Specimen of Heron Serif Cyrillic and Greek
Serifs figure prominently in Heron Serif’s Cyrillic characters, but are quite rare in the Greek version because of that language’s attributes.

For Scout and Heron Serif’s update, designers June Shin and Cem Eskinazi first cleaned up some legacy details. They polished the character sets and brought them up to date, adding extra glyphs like additional currency symbols and arrows. Shin and Eskinazi eventually ended up with a character set, modified from WGL-4 (the Pan-European character set), that could be used for all future Occupant Fonts releases. They then proceeded with the Greek and Cyrillic expansion for both families. Initially, Shin and Eskinazi conducted research on their own for a couple of months, visiting the Providence Public Library to examine historical examples. For Greek, they read publications by Gerry Leonidas, who also answered some specific questions via email; for detailed questions about Cyrillic, they consulted with Ilya Ruderman of foundry partner CSTM Fonts. Their research and consultation rounds with specialists allowed Shin and Eskinazi to respect the linguistic particularities of the Greek and Cyrillic alphabets while remaining faithful to Highsmith’s original designs. With their language skills expanded, Scout and Heron serif are poised to explore fresh locales and make new friends.

Like all Occupant fonts, Scout and Heron are available for print, web, applications, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days. To stay current on all things Occupant, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.