Pyke contains 12 fonts, all with a Central European Character Set, Small Caps, lining and Old Style figures. The typeface is suited especially for book and magazine layout, or for any other printed material of a complex layout. The typeface Pyke is built out of 3 individually designed families all optically scaled for the ideal function in a given point size.
The families Pyke Text and Micro are both inspired by Giambattista Bodoni’s earlier work having elements of the Transitional typeface tradition, while Pyke Display is inspired by his later work of high stroke contrast and vertical emphasis. Pyke Text is developed for running text at regular text sizes of 9-14 points, Pyke Micro is optimized for small sizes of 8 point or less, and Pyke Display is designed for headlines.
To improve readability and minimize the vertical feeling, the ascending lowercase stems of Pyke Text and Micro are bent slightly forward, the Didone style high contrast and radical transition between horizontal and vertical counters have been toned down, and the lowercase letters ‘e’ and ‘c’ have a diagonal axis. Historical traditions dictate the Didone style narrow characters to be extra narrow. Nonetheless, to enhance the horizontal flow this tradition was disregarded in the text versions of Pyke; instead, emphasis was given to the forward movement by broadening and opening the loops in both characters ‘j’ and ‘f’. Another disregarded Didone style feature in PykeText and Micro is the heavy teardrops on the letters ‘f’, ‘j’, ‘a’, ‘c’ and ‘r’, which seem to enhance the vertical movement in the letters.
Compared to the two text versions of Pyke, the display version has a smaller x-height, larger contrast and narrower letters. Since headlines and titles often appear in large sizes at a close reading distance, readability may in these situations be less significant than in versions for running text. Furthermore, headings rarely consist of longer paragraphs, and are often perceived in few fixations. A horizontal emphasis is consequently not as vital, and so the Didone style tradition, such as: narrow letters ‘j’, ‘f’ and ‘t’, the heavy teardrops, and the high stroke contrast, can be applied. By emphasising these somewhat legibility troubling Didone features in the larger sizes alone, the typeface Pyke Display will in combination with Pyke Text and Pyke Micro, add an element of elegance and sophistication to the layout without causing the reader strain.
An early version of Pyke Text was subjected to experimental legibility investigations of distance and time threshold methods. Participants were exposed to different variations of the most frequently misread lowercase letters within the typeface. The findings demonstrated that the Italic style descending ‘f’ is more visible at distance than the Roman style ‘f’, that a closed aperture of the ‘e’ lowers visibility in a short exposure, and that the same goes for the closed aperture of the ‘c’ at distance.