Arvo: Characteristics, Personality, Rhythm & Flow

Part One Overview:

  • Name of the typeface and the family
  • Name of the designer(s), country of origin, and date of design
  • Type classification, expressive qualities, personality
  • Description of the visual characteristics of the family
  • List or description of the various weights, slants of the entire family


Weight and Kerning (bold):

Weight, kerning, anatomy exploration (370 pt)

Angle of the Italics (regular, italics, bold, bold italics):

Analysis of the italics angle, and the different weight of Arvo (230 pt)

Weight and Kerning (regular, italics, bold, bold italics):

Analysis of various kerning and weight in the font family (150 pt)

Kerning and Low caps (italics, bold, bold italics):

Kerning and low caps exploration (180 pt)

X-height, Descender and Kerning (regular, italics, bold, bold italics):

Analysis of kerning for various weights and its x-height and descender (120 pt)

X-height and Cap height (bold):

Cap height and x-height comparison (270 pt)

X-height and Cap height (regular, italics, bold, bold italics):

Analysis of the entire A-Z font family of Arvo (50 pt)

Weight (regular, italics, bold, bold italics):

Digital exploration of regular vs. bold and italics vs. bold italics (370 pt)



  • Created and popularized during the second Industrial Revolution to fit the needs of the changing culture.
  • Posters, advertisements, and billboards were popularized and needed taller and wider type to grab the viewer’s attention


  • Geometric, monolinear slab-serif typeface family designed by an Anton Koovit in 2010
  • Includes four weights: regular, italics, bold, bold italics
  • Arvo means: “number, value, worth” in Finnish
  • Designed for the purpose of legibility
  • Treatment of slab-serifs are different for italics, often one directional or omitted for legibility.


  • Monolinear: Having a vertical and horizontal strokes of the same visual weight
  • Slab-serif: “sans-serif fonts with added serifs”

Historical Examples of Slab-Serif:

Slab-serif fonts used in posters and advertisements in the Industrial Revolution era


Bold, Stable, Orderly

50 Word Statement:

Conversation with Anton Koovit:

Conversation with Anton Koovit, September 27, 2020
  • “I started Arvo at the time, when i was finishing U8 typeface, so i was very eager to make something with serifs after completing big sans-serif project. As well, while i was researching U8, i had seen handful of very nice, but forgotten german slab-serif typefaces. Back then there weren’t that many monolinear slab-serif fonts, so maybe that also was a factor, indeed.”
  • “Yes i am satisfied. Of course i would love to change few things on it every now and then, but i think it came out quite truthful to the aims of the project. One thing what a bit disappointed me, is that only few people are able to find newer version(s) of Arvo in my Github.”
  • “Sturdy, geometric, stable.”

In-Class Discussion


  • X-height: more x-height, more legibility
  • Character width: more character width, more legibility
  • Design traits: visual treatment of the type
  • Weight: extremely light and heavy weights are difficult to read
  • Stroke contrast: ratio to thick to thin strokes
  • Counters: the open spaces in the letter, smaller the more challenging it is to read
  • Serifs or lack thereof: serifs are generally believed tot be more legible


  • Type size: larger is easier to read
  • Type case: all caps for lengthy text is harder to read due to lack of descenders and ascenders
  • Line spacing/leading: 2–4 pts more than the character size
  • Color contrast: contrast between background to type
  • Line length/column length: smaller columns means less characters in one line, more hyphenation
  • Line length/hyphenation: generally avoid 2 hyphenations in paragraphs
  • Length/measure: stick to average line length, 45/75 characters per line including punctuations
  • Alignment: flush left, flush right justified
  • Good rags vs. bad rags
  • Widows and orphans: widows are at the bottom of the paragraph, and orphan is a single word at the end of the paragraph that appears at the top line of the new column or page.

Exploration 1: Layout

Rough composition ideations
Exploration on Figma

Exploration 2: Imagery and Type

21 compositions using different images

Why did I choose these images?

Thumbnail print outs of the compositions above

What is most effective?

Four most effective compositions

In-class Critique:


  • Overall, the hierarchy and the use of negative space and the composition is good
  • Play more with the scale and the leading of the body text — 8.5 pt, 9 pt
  • Introduce and highlight some interesting glyphs in Arvo
  • The swirl doesn’t fit the composition and the overall personality of Arvo
  • Explore more hierarchy in micro moments
  • Maybe add some color of the photo to the text for more cohesion
  • Go explore a different set of images because I have time


  • The composition is “safe” — not in a bad way, but it has order and stability
  • Can the composition be more “bold?”
  • Perhaps change and play around with the placement of the body text — can they be offset? have movement?


  • Want to see more “Arvo” in the right side of the spread
  • Starting to turn into a logo, or initials when it is stacked

What is next?

Exploration 3: Imagery and Type

Exploration 2
Thumbnail printouts of the compositions above

What is most effective?

Eight most effective compositions

In-class Critique:

  • Use of vector shapes is nice — it tells the story and shows the personality of the type — how can this be combined with other compositions?
  • Image and vectors speak the same language but some are more effective than others
  • Subtle grey and white is nice — perhaps consider adding a white boarder within the composition

What is next?

Exploration 4: Imagery and Type

Five Explorations of vector shapes
Three most effective compositions
Three compositions above printed and folded

Office hours Critique:

  • The first vector shapes might be more representative of “Arvo.” It feels more stable and more orderly and bold — consider playing with scale, and going off the grid to create more interesting compositions
  • The new vector shapes are more interesting, but it might not draw enough attention to the content on the right
  • The content on the right feels very “left” and “right.” Try moving the two columns closer together, and play with scale and break the grid in order to make it more dynamic.
  • Increase the scale of the “font family” and the glyph visualization.
  • Overall, a good representation and exploration of Arvo, its up to me to decide which one I will run with.

What is next?

ARVO abstraction

Final Poster

Final Poster
Final poster with margins

Final Critique

Overall Critique:

  • “When you start to use the text to create imagery, you should be repeating the name again because it becomes art and is not readable.”
  • Grouping of information through using color, scale etc can be effective.
  • Use of scale can be beneficial to the spread — provides a good complement
  • Try not to just “hard return” in order to get rid of the window
  • If text is being broken, try to think about the syllable and break it there for readability and understandability.

Arvo Critique:

  • Carol Pickerine: “Drawn to Arvo. The rags complement the left side of the page”
  • Arvo grabs the viewer’s attention from afar
  • Good relationship from left to right side of the page
  • Use of color leads the eye to the right content — starting from the title to the circle
  • Kick the bottom paragraph under the “bold, stable, orderly” closer to the heading
  • Font family and glyph information can be in grey or red (?) to make it more of a secondary element
  • The geometric shape is good for “Arvo”





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