Mersey Design Information

The TYPE BY Mersey is a typeface designed by Fred Smeijers. Its name - Mersey - comes from the Liverpool-based music publication Mersey Beat, founded by Bill Harry in 1960. Harry, on its turn, referred of course to Mersey - the river - that connects the metropolis of pop music, Liverpool, with the nearby areas the Mersey Beat or Sound originated from. In France it was called Yeah-Yeah music, referring to bands such as The Undertakers, Searchers, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and the early Beatles, of course. Simple rhythms, rather upbeat and often, for those days, with a sense of insurrection loaded with vigour.

Conceived for display use, Mersey design has a number of distinct qualities. One of them, in Smeijers’ eyes, is Mersey’s ‘straight diagonals’ – although a bit far-fetched maybe, they carry the same qualities and potency as the Mersey Beat. Usually such strokes are drawn horizontally, but in Mersey they follow a sharp diagonal direction, giving way to vibrant word images. It is remarkable how these diagonal strokes, although in essence disarmingly uncomplicated, blast strength and dynamism that are in fact enabled by just a change of stroke direction.

Looking back in history, such strokes can be found in the 19th century lettering, although in capital letters only. Writing, drawing, or painting capitals with such diagonal strokes delivered a remarkable speed and required less concentration. These lettering details were then taken in by the type founding industry, and by doing so, making them more acceptable.

From a then-contemporary perspective, such typefaces did not manage to escape their time-stamp, perpetuating a strong Victorian sentiment. And so it was the German foundries that managed to overcome this arguable drawback: at the very beginning of the 20th century, German foundries started to dress-up some of their all-too-plain 19th century Grotesk designs with sorts and sorts of fancy features, hoping that would result into a second life for investments already made four to five decades ago. Just the same, this movement also opened the door for a new sort of… liberated Grotesk. A Grotesk with elements that were in fact very alien to that letter-class.

Amongst these alien elements was the diagonal stroke treatment. Whenever it was done with care and logic, it actually matched the Grotesk letter quite well. However, this movement was not that orderly or visionary in nature: the very few designs incorporating diagonal strokes in a successful way, never got developed into larger, nor complete families. Fast-forward to the 21th century, Mersey is therefore one of the first, if not the first, typeface design incorporating such diagonal strokes in a consequent way, as a true design feature, being present not only in the capitals and lower case, but also in figures and currency and related glyphs. As a contemporary and fully dependable typographic tool, Mersey comes as a well-built superfamily: with an effective range of weights, and spanning over a generous number of widths. The character set includes a well-thought of range of stylistic alternates, that change Mersey’s flair at will. With all these qualities in tow, Mersey gives the designers a free hand in creating powerful display designs: posters or headlines, be they printed or digital, but also medium-length texts and captions that require minimal space and maximum readability. And last but perhaps Mersey’s strongest feature is its confident “Now” – it is a design that does not throw you back into the nineteenth century.

Mersey superfamily consists of seven families, each in seven weights of roman designs. Mersey is equipped with a full range of Latin Extended glyphs, Lining, superior and inferior figures, currency-, math-, symbols, and case-sensitive punctuation.

Mersey fonts are available in OTF CFF, TTF, WOFF, and WOFF2 formats.

Supported Languages