For London-based Magpie Studio’s work on the brand launch of Virgin’s new cruiseline, Virgin Voyages, Colophon Foundry was invited aboard to help give form to a new duo of nautically-inspired custom typefaces. Formerly known as Virgin Cruises, the new alliterative brand name gave rise to a V-in-V logomark that provided an organizing principle when it came time to draw and construct the new streamlined types.
Conjuring up the image of a ship’s bow breaking through ocean waves, Magpie and Colophon collectively borrowed this hydrodynamic slicing gesture and its contours to create Voyage Regular (wide-channel) and Voyage Display (narrow-channel), two inline sans-serifs harkening back to ocean travel’s golden age while also looking ahead to its auspicious future.
Across numerals as well as upper- and lower-case figures, the angle of the Voyages mark prompted regularized geometry that artfully affects stroke trajectories (W,A,V), stylized extremities (E), and character terminals (S). Curved openings to each letter’s inline stroke lend motion and dynamism to the otherwise static letterforms, providing semi-elliptical counterpoints to the sharp angles encountered elsewhere.
Two optical weights of type allow for a multitude of settings. A generous, overscaled inline accounts for instances of smaller display type or short pieces of body copy, whereas a subtle, hairline channel is intended for use at large sizes: expansive headlines and overscaled liveries that might one day ornament the bows and sterns of Voyages’ vessels.
Nautical themes were subtly incorprated into the type for key moments of punctuation writ large: an alternate em dash is comprised of two graphic rope-ends meeting each other in a classic square knot—a perfect and poetic means of indicating travel between destinations.
Elsewhere, an alternate ‘ampersand’ irreverently finds its final form somewhere among a true and per se and (&), an inverted fish, and a mathematical addition symbol (+). This rounds out a character set that is simultaneously grounded in its stature yet seafaring in its attitude.
With its maiden voyage scheduled for 2020, the foundry looks forward to seeing what graphic and typographic journeys the typeface duo will take, both before and after the champagne bottle meets the ship’s hull upon launch.