Lava was designed for magazine use, but far transcends its original application. It’s a no-nonsense workhorse typeface that can handle large quantities of text with ease. It’s extremely legible and harmonious at small sizes, sophisticated and elegant at large sizes. Since its launch in 2013, it has become a popular choice for editorial magazines, adopted by countless printed and online publications world-wide.
Read more about development of Lava▸
Lava is part of Typotheque’s Global Font collection supporting hundreds of languages and various writing scripts. The basic Lava version (Extended Latin) supports all Latin-based European languages (Western, Central and Eastern European, Baltic, Turkish). Separately, Lava is available also in the Cyrillic and Greek versions, Devanagari, and South Indian writing scripts of Kannada and Telugu. Hebrew and Armenian versions are in development. Additionally, we’ve matched Lava to work with a beautiful Arabic typeface Harir, available from TPTQ-Arabic.com.
All weights of Lava include nine different kinds of numerals. Default numerals are proportional old-style (ranging) numerals. The typeface includes: OsF (Old-style proportional Figures) for use in running text. Lining figures for use with capitals letters, because their proportions match the height of caps. Small Caps figures for use in all small caps setting, Tabular (both Lining and OsF), Superior and Inferior figures, and finally Circled and Circled inverted figures.
Lava is fairly compact typeface family with only four weights. Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Armenian and Hebrew come also with a cursive italics. There is no tradition to use Italics in the Indian scripts or Arabic. Additionally, the Latin, Greek, Cyrillic versions include also Small Caps.
Proportions & Conventions
Dealing with various unrelated writing scripts, while aiming for cultural authenticity and maintaining the design principles of the typeface is extremely challenging. The Latin, for example, uses a consistent angle of the pen, based on the angle of the broad nib. The Greek and Cyrillic need to make several exceptions to this consistency of holding the pen, to draw the shapes that Greek or Russian readers are used to. The Arabic and Hebrew is usually written with a pen cut in a 60° angle, so unlike the Latin, the horizontal strokes are thick and verticals are thin. The South Indian writing scripts such as Telugu and Kannada bear an atypical stress—one which that can't be achieved with any calligraphy tools or a brush. Each writing tradition requires rethinking the horizontal and vertical proportions of the typeface, and stroke weight distribution. Additionally, each writing script has a different text density, so the basic stroke weight needs to be modified in order to achieve balanced overall text image. We need to research the cultural traditions and conventions, influences of technology, to render diverse languages correctly, with respect, and in the aesthetically and technological highest level.
Lava (Latin, Greek) was designed in 2013 by Peter Biľak. Cyrillic version was designed by Ilya Ruderman. Devanagari version was designed in 2019 by Parimal Parmar and the Telugu and Kannada version by Ramakrishna Saiteja. Lava Hebrew is designed by Michal Sahar. Lava is paired with Harir, an Arabic typeface designed by Bahman Eslami.