Of all of them (see previous post), Super Veloz was the one to bear the most fruit. Its main selling points were speed and savings. Using a single typeface, it was possible to produce many different creations. It allowed printers to make the leap into producing drawings, illustrations and logos using its modules, based on guidelines for typographic composition, without having to commission a photoengraver or draughtsman who might take several days to complete the work, not to mention the associated cost increase. As Martínez Sicluna stated in his 1945 book Teoría y práctica de la Tipografía (Theory and Practice of Typography), ‘it is a powerful aid for a wide variety of imaginative jobs: letterheads, business cards, stock certificates, labels, covers, illustrated magazines, etc.’
Considering the technology of the time and the limitations imposed by lead type, the compositions produced with Super Veloz required a new modern typography professional who was skilled in the art of movable type and spacing, as well as draughtsmanship and drawing. Esteban Trochut said as much in an article titled ‘Sobre el porvenir de la tipografía’ (On the future of typography), in which he coined a curious term for this new expert: cajistasupertipista (typesettersupercomposer), a true virtuoso in the trade, due to the precise adjustments required by the typeface to prepare it for printing.
A designer today, faced with a composition using Super Veloz in lead, would find themself engaged in a task that is paradoxically very slow as well as extremely complicated. Fortunately, there is a digital version, designed in 2004 by Andreu Balius and Alex Trochut, grandson of Joan and now a renowned designer specializing in lettering. The two met at Elisava design school as teacher and student, respectively.
Alex never knew his grandfather, who died in 1980. But this digitization project made it possible to recover and showcase the work of the man who can perhaps be said to be the Spanish typographic designer to obtain the greatest recognition beyond our borders. And his creation, Super Veloz type, the typeface that can be used to create other typefaces and much more: the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious typeface.
By Roberto Gamonal Arroyo