Font Friday

Ancho (free font)

The blocky contrasting sans seir typeface Ancho on a mobile phone in a headline and pull quote.

Display typeface

by Beatriz Lozano

6 Styles

Thin to Ultra Bold

Variable font

1 axis (weight)

License

Free, Pay-what-you-want

Best for

Specialty

Across all weights the character width is pretty similar, which helps you creates cool patterns.

My thoughts on Ancho

Ancho is a blocky, stepped looking, sans-serif display typeface by Beatriz Lozano. She said it’s inspired by Mexican cuisine and the architecture of Teotihuacán. I can definitely feel that vibe. The free font also comes as variable font, providing you with a lot of additional steps in weight. Due to the striking design and given that Ancho is upper-case only, it’s a cool choice for headings, a large title, or maybe a short lead-in paragraph. Don’t use it for body text or functional text.

The sentence “Anch’s lovely patterns” written in the six different weights from Ultra Bold to Thin.
The lighter, the more of a skeleton Ancho looks like. It also becomes super edgy like at the V or N. But overall a mesmerizing pattern.

I love what rhythmical patterns can be created when mixing extreme weights like Light and Ultra Bold. One particularly cool thing is, that the letters almost keep their width throughout the different weights. The lighter, the edgier it looks. Some letters in the lighter weights are quite awkward, almost ugly to me, like the W, but as a whole, it creates super-interesting patterns.

“When Type is a pattern“ set with and without letter spacing. Very ornamental without letter spacing. Very uncool with some letter spacing
Sometimes contrast makes it harmonious. Break the rule of spacing out all caps text here. Ancho lives from its friction.

With Ancho, type becomes more ornamental, so it works better when breaking the rule of properly spacing out all caps text. In the example above, when you add letter spacing to it, it looses its integrity, the individual letters get too much attention, appear even weirder, and gone is the lovely contrast. Ancho shows you how it always depends on what you do with those letter shapes.

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