In the 20th century, surprisingly many designers have approached the idea of the serifless roman. Rudolf Koch, Berthold Wolpe, Hermann Zapf, William Dwiggins and Matthew Carter have experimented with or produced designs in the category variously known as serifless roman, calligraphic sans, or contrasting sans. More recently, diverse approaches have led to Tiepolo, Amerigo, Pascal, Legacy Sans, and Amira.
In that context, Beorcana simply adds to the existing work that has been done in the style. Beorcana is intended for book text, however, which remains a rarity in the category. Proportions, contrast, calligraphic artifacts, rigidity or the lack of a proper Italic have led me to pursue a serifless type for book typographers and designers. The recurrent preconception that serifs are necessary for readability has only challenged me to find the solution. Beorcana exhibits overt calligraphic stress and contrast, yet the smaller it is set, the more readable and serviceable it becomes. This is the reason for the accompanying display weights. The calligraphic style also lends itself to large and expressive settings.
Beorcanas influences include serifed types as well. The most overt influence is from Trajanus, whose angular calligraphic shapes suggested a lively direction for a style that previously seemed too quiet or monotonous for extended reading. Trajanus and Minion acted as models for proportion, contrast, and simplicity. Other book types of the hot metal era provided ideas about color, contrast and spacing. Optima was an early model, but eventually became simply a point of departure as blackletter, Aldus small italic book faces, The angular and expressive types of Menhart, and the simplicity of the Humanist Sans all contributed elements for consideration in developing Beorcana.
No typeface is entirely original, least of all Beorcana, but the result, its suitability to extended reading, came about by a lengthy gestation during which a great deal of synthesis occurred. A good design is less about what is added than it is about what is removed or left out. I hope Beorcana retains just enough interest to enliven text, without distracting or hindering the reader in their primary interest: reading.