MVB Embarcadero lies in a space between grotesque sans serifs and the vernacular signage lettering drawn by engineers. It’s a style that happens to convey credibility and forthrightness without pretense—it’s anti-style, actually. All of this makes for the most versatile of typefaces, capable of delivering any kind of message while staying out of the way.
As is often the case with a type design that develops over several years, Embarcadero isn’t the realization of a specific concept. In the ’90s Mark van Bronkhorst began digitizing a blocky slab serif from the Victorian era, which was then set aside for many years. He later revisited the design, paring it down to its bare essentials, and as more time passed, it evolved from a grid-based outline to curves that echoed the rigid skeleton of the original. Eventually it became a complete family with all the readability requirements of a text sans serif, yet maintaining the subtle eccentricities of its inspiration.
Functionally, the Embarcadero family is as adaptable as its design. The OpenType Pro set of 20 fonts contains two widths and five weights, each with italics, small caps, a full set of figures, bullets and arrows, and support for most Latin-based languages. In all, Embarcadero is suitable for headlines or text. And—thanks to its simple, square form—it’s ideal for type on screen too.