Adam Jagosz

AJ Quadrata harkens back to the calligraphic roots of Blackletter and revives penmanship from 1490.

AJ Quadrata is a typeface distilled from Blackletter calligraphy, full of hardcore ligatures creating the intricate picket-fence pattern and rendering the script illegible to the modern layman. (Take a quiz!)

Nightwish album title “End of an Era” and Nightwish “Ghost Love Score” song lyrics set in AJ Quadrata
AJ Quadrata
I saw the ashes flying. Dreams will be like a river of love. I think, therefore I write.
AJ Quadrata Medieval
Vidi cineres volantis. Somnia erunt sicuti flumen amoris. Cogito, ergo scribo.

Textura Quadrata can be a b***h.

Blackletter scripts can be a really fun intro to calligraphy: there’s Fraktur, Schwabacher, Rotunda, Bastarda, but especially, Textura Quadrata. Made up of straight strokes and disciplined angles, it is especially demanding, but just as fascinating.

Textura Quadrata calligraphy requires a lot of discipline and constant planning to make the strokes meet where they should. Many letters interact in ways unexpected to the modern eye.

It requires constant planning and conscious effort to make the strokes meet where they’re supposed to. The letters often interact in ways unexpected to the modern eye. It is not just a script full of ligatures, but a script where every word is its own ligature, sometimes to the detriment of legibility. Textura can get nasty.

Man in hoodie with text “Task failed successfully” set in AJ Quadrata.

So can this typeface, if you need it to.

Even in the age of OpenType, most digital Blackletter typefaces (and they keep coming, in all shapes and sizes) only employ ligatures that were used in movable Blackletter type and that are found in modern usage (some nice exceptions: KPS Fonts).

Against the current, I created a typeface based not on print, but Textura handwriting. It comes in two flavors: the default cut serves a reasonable ration of the archaic madness, and the worst bits were saved for AJ Quadrata Medieval.

Pagan Poetry song lyrics by Björk set in AJ Quadrata.
“Figurative Painting” set in AJ Quadrata.

No apologies.

In handwritten Textura, many letters collide with one another to form an unapologetic woven texture. A letter ‘violated’ this way may end up losing its diamond-shaped head serif.


These protruding letters (c, e, f, g, r, t, x) also form graceful ligatures with the arching hairline counter of the letter a.


Upon casting into metal, most letters were disentangled and only a few ligatures survived. To understand Textura’s essence and discover the richness of its combinations, you had to delve into the original calligraphic sources. Well, now you can also inspect AJ Quadrata.

OpenType features

Lorem ipsum
Lorem ipsum
(no language)
* Feature varies across subfamilies.
Type here...
Lorem ipsum dolor sit plummet

The tittle

A Blackletter tittle can have many forms. The naive approach is to make it a simple diamond following the ductus of the pen. But the actual sources typically employ either a diagonal hairline (not dissimilar to an acute accent) or a lazy hairline arc — as found in the Zwollen Bible, which AJ Quadrata is mostly based on. To preserve the tittle’s careless squiggly nature, I drew several variants contextually substituted in a pseudo-random fashion.

The tittle originally served as disambiguation and was only present above i adjacent to m, n, or u. This feature is preserved in AJ Quadrata Medieval. Ah yes, the y also comes with a squiggle. Given how rarely the letter is found in the sources, perhaps that was to disambiguate it from itself and from the crude reality?


Not all dots are created equal, and the squiggle doesn’t work so well as the dot diacritic mark. The diamond-shaped form which can be toggled with Stylistic Set 06 or by setting text language to Turkish, Kazakh, Crimean Tatar, Tatar or Azeri.

A wizard’s job is to vex chumps quickly in fog.

The Rubrum

Black and red are the traditional colors of typography. Rubrication, from the Latin rubrīcāre, “to color red”, and ruber, “red”, is the process of adding red ink to emphasize paragraphs, headings, or initials. The last application is the most interesting on the font level. Blackletter capitals often feature red filling between two of their many strokes, or sometimes — as in the Zwollen Bible — a red overlay on a single stroke, which is what I went for in AJ Quadrata. That must have been some pretty opaque ink used there, though, essentially paint.

Love is the Ultimate Half-Truth
Sometimes When You’re in a Dark Place, You Think You’ve Been Buried, But Actually, You’ve Been Planted

The rubrication is provided as a separate layer font, AJ Quadrata Rubrum. To use it, copy your text layer, paste in place, change the font to Rubrum and pick a color — a good start could be #DB1818.

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Find out how well you can read Textura by deciphering 15 words of increasing difficulty. If you get stuck, check some hints below.

The Scary
Medieval Stuff

The default cut of AJ Quadrata lets go of many cool (and awkward) aspects of the authentic Textura calligraphy. No worries though, most of these quirks found home in AJ Quadrata Medieval.

Round letters like b, o, p are followed by a special variant of r, called rotunda r, that looks kinda like the right half of a capital R.
The s we know and love, here called short s, only occurs at the end of the word. In other positions, a gnarly creature called long s creeps into its place.
The letters u and v are merely typographic variants of the same letter, used in the middle and at the beginning of a word, respectively. Nasty, I know!
dead poets
Combinations like da, de, do, pa, pe, po are available as discretionary ligatures in the default cut. In AJ Quadrata Medieval, these are promoted to standard ligatures.
The letters c, e, f, g, r, t, x ligate with the following letter. Out of these, c can be the most confusing, so it only acts on its whims in AJ Quadrata Medieval.
Tittles — the dots, or more precisely, squiggles above the letter i — are normally omitted and only used for disambiguation in proximity of the letters m, n, u.
AJ Quadrata.
The essence distilled
from Blackletter.
Get AJ Quadrata on MyFonts
The essence distilled * from Textura Quadrata *