How did the project come about and what did you want to achieve with Tongari—was there a particular feeling you wanted to evoke, or a use you had in mind?
I didn’t have any particular use in mind—apart from commissioned work, Coline is the only typeface I have designed with a specific use in mind; it was designed for pocket books. Usually, I create a typeface because I have shapes in mind, and then I try to make those shapes as beautiful as possible in large sizes and as efficient as possible in small sizes. The main task is to find the right balance between these two poles. They can have as much personality as they want, but the typefaces I create have to all behave in small sizes and make a nice ‘grey’. You can even try to set my typeface Jaakko in 9 points and it remains readable and even.
What was your starting point for the design, and where did you look for inspiration?
Many years ago, I saw a very beautiful ‘e’ in a book about old type specimens; it had a pointy outstroke and a "cartoony" look which I liked. So I draw an ‘e’ inspired by that shape, and then decided to design a whole typeface to go with it. After that, once I had a medium kind of weight for the typeface, I figured I wanted to make a whole family out of it, ending up with seven weights and their seven corresponding italics.
During the whole process, I kept in mind that everything had to be pointy, and sharp. I sprinkled on that a bit of Plantin, for the lowercase a, and a bit of Vendome for the uppercase R.