For TypeTogether’s last release of 2021, we have a sweet surprise. Our award-winning typeface family Bree is available in two new scripts: Arabic and Thai. Bree Latin now also supports Pinyin and features improved Vietnamese diacritics. Read on to hear from Azza Alameddine who designed Bree Arabic; Cadson Demak’s Anuthin Wongsunkakon on Bree Thai, designed by his colleague Panuwat Usakulwattana; and Donny Truong who advised on the Vietnamese. Plus a holiday bonus: a sneak peek into Bree Devanagari.
The story so far
Bree began its life as Veronika’s lettering for TypeTogether’s logo back in 2006. It inspired a ton of curiosity and interest, and so in 2009 we created a typeface from its style. Influenced by handwriting but thoroughly typographic, Bree is a friendly sans serif that has been used for everything from branding to packaging and magazines, in print and on screens. Now over a decade old, it has lost none of its youthful spryness, and remains one of the most sought after upright italics even today.
We celebrated Bree’s tenth birthday in 2019 with a huge update: new Latin characters, spacing and lettershape improvements, support for Vietnamese, variable fonts, and most notably, the release of Bree Greek and Bree Cyrillic.
Continuing our commitment to creating multiscript fonts, we are proud to announce Bree Arabic and Bree Thai, and our effort to make Bree our second global font after Adelle Sans. With five scripts already under its belt, including a Latin that supports Vietnamese and Pinyin, this is only the start. We hope to create an international typeface family that embraces diversity, all while keeping Bree’s characteristic good-natured spirit at the forefront.
The design for Bree Arabic was led by Azza Alameddine, with assistance from Najla Badran and Rabab Charafeddine. To recreate the influence of handwriting, Azza based the design on the Ru’qah style of Arabic calligraphy. Ru’qah was developed in response to the needs of the Ottoman bureaucracy to make paperwork faster and is recognisable by its straight strokes and simple curves. Combined with soft, rounded shapes, it gives Bree Arabic a lively and warm appearance, just like its Latin counterpart.
The designers of Bree Arabic translated calligraphic ligatures from the Ru’qah style to typographic forms, giving the typeface an impressive extended ligature set numbering over 400. It also includes stylistic alternates for combined forms from Ru’qah, where the dot and base letter are connected to further accentuate its roots in handwriting.
With its seven weights, ranging from Thin to Extrabold, Bree Arabic can be your go-to font family for communicating in a convivial tone.
Stay tunned for an upcoming in-depth article about type designer Azza Alameddine and her Bree Arabic design.
Conversations in Thai
For the design of Bree Thai, we reached out to renowned design communications firm Cadson Demak. Panuwat Usakulwattana designed the seven-weight Bree Thai family to not only be a capable partner to the original Latin, but also as a standalone design we hope will be used widely for Thai-reading audiences.
Building on distinctive Latin details that sit just as comfortably with Thai letterforms, Bree Thai is a modern loopless design that is formal in its appearance but with a cheerful twist. Our seasoned working relationship with Cadson Demak meant we were able to forge the same personality in Bree Thai that Bree Latin is well-known for, despite the vast differences between the scripts.
Building bridges with Pinyin
As part of our commitment to make fonts that speak the languages of the world, the latest version of Bree now supports Pinyin. Pinyin is the official system of romanization for the Chinese written language developed in the 1950s and based on the pronunciation of the Beijing dialect of Mandarin Chinese.
Like most phonetic representations of the Han language, Pinyin uses clusters of letters usually formed by initials and finals to represent syllables. The system makes a very clear distinction between aspirated and unaspirated initials. The finals are usually represented by vowels or groups of letters containing at least one vowel. These could have floating diacritics to mark the four tones of Mandari — macron, acute, caron, and grave — and Bree now includes all these necessary accented characters.
Making Vietnamese diacritics better
When we asked Vietnamese expert Donny Truong to review Bree, he gave us feedback on how to connect the marks better because he felt the diacritics lacked the handwriting qualities which gave the typeface its friendly and distinctive voice.
Based on Donny’s suggestions, José undertook a complete overhaul of Bree’s diacritical marks. With meticulous attention to detail, he incorporated handwriting touches and organic shapes to their design. He redrew the tilde to give it more curvature, and added the bottom tail to the hook above to give it a humanist touch; detached the acute and the grave from the circumflex; and repositioned all stacking accents to the right of the circumflex for consistency. Finally, José also reworked the ư and ơ to make them more consistent with each other. Together, these changes not only improve the visual design of the Vietnamese glyphs in Bree, but also help with readability in long texts.
A great start
Last but not the least, don’t forget to check out our first efforts to make Bree a multiscript powerhouse — Bree Greek designed by Irene Vlachou, and Bree Cyrillic designed by Veronika Burian, with expert support by Vera Evstafieva. Each of these typeface families comes in seven weights and matching italics, and deftly echoes Bree Latin’s affable nature.
Bree Devanagari in progress
We are also excited to share with you an early look at what the future holds for the Bree multiscript family — Bree Devanagari designed by Pooja Saxena.
With its even, rhythmic character widths, generous counters, and handwriting influenced shapes, this design will fit right into the Bree stable. Like in the Latin original, Bree Devanagari is friendly, comes with alternates that temper its lively texture, and boasts seven weights for display and branding.
This is only the start for Bree Devanagari, so stay tuned for more updates.
Ready for Your world
TypeTogether’s collaborative approach to developing fonts is echoed in its very name, and so it is only right that the typeface adorning its logo grows and evolves in the same spirit. Our multiscript Bree wouldn’t be possible without the designers and experts who brought their skills and know-how to this project — Irene Vlachou, Vera Evstafieva, Azza Alameddine, Panuwat Usakulwattana, Donny Truong, and many others.
Already five scripts — Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, and Thai — and seven weights strong, Bree Multiscript is ready for your next international project. Take our friendliest typeface family for a spin and show us how you use it!
TypeTogether is an indie type foundry committed to excellence in type design with a focus on editorial use. Additionally, TypeTogether creates custom type design for corporate use. We invite you to browse our library of retail fonts or contact us to discuss custom type design projects.