by Thomas Phinney
Occasionally, I am going to do a feature on one of our most overlooked typefaces. These are typefaces that I think very highly of, but don’t sell like hotcakes. Today I’m starting with Chaparral, designed by Carol Twombly around 1997.
As you can see, Chaparral is a humanist take on the slab serif genre. It has more contrast than most slab serif faces (even more evident in the semibold and bold weights). The angle of stress is not quite vertical, though it’s close. The ends of the slab serifs are not quite square-cut, either. And of course it’s proportionally spaced, rather than being monospaced like Courier.
The net effect is a sturdy but versatile text face. Adding to this versatility is the range of optical size variants that the typeface is equipped with. As a full-featured OpenType design, Chaparral also features, central European language coverage, small caps, oldstyle figures, ligatures and other typographic refinements.
Although Adobe has its corporate typefaces (Minion and Myriad), which reduce my opportunities to use other fonts, I have used Chaparral for a number of projects, to great success. I’ve recommended it for usage in a remarkable range of situations, from the body text for a health-related magazine, to general office use when something warm and not too clinical was desired.