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Page 1 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

Sample text in Martel Sans; eight weights, 33/41pt

Charles Martel was a Frankish statesman and military leader who, as Duke and Prince of the Franks and Mayor of the Palace, ruled de facto over Francia from 718 ’til his death. An illegitimate son of the Frankish statesman Pepin of Herstal and a noblewoman known as Alpaida, Martel successfully asserted his claims to power as successor to his father and the might behind the throne in Frankish politics. Continually extending his father’s work, he restored centralized government in the kingdom & began to campaign militarily for the


Page 2 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

Malabar Regular Malabar Italic Malabar Bold Malabar B’Italic Malabar Heavy Malabar H’Italic

Gut’berg-Jahrbuch Gutenberg-Jahrbuch M. Sans UltraLight M. Sans Light M. Sans Regular M. Sans Medium M. Sans DemiBold M. Sans Bold M. Sans ExtraBold M. Sans Heavy

Above: The six styles of Malabar® that are commercially available, followed by the two adaptations made for the Gutenberg-Jahrbuch. These are followed by the eight weights of Martel Sans. Right: The seven weights of Martel Devanagari and the corresponding Martel Sans weights. Malabar is a trademark of Monotype GmbH registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions.

Introduction Martel’s theme spans through my much of work over the last decade. As a student at the University of Reading in 2007–2008, I drew a small family of Latin and Devanagari typefaces as part of the MA Typeface Design course, which were the first works I gave the “Martel” name to. In early 2009, I expanded the number of Latin-script fonts from that Martel project and released them through Linotype under the name Malabar®. Malabar went on to win several design awards, which was really cool. In 2010, I created an extension of the Malabar family for use in two editions of the Gutenberg-Jahrbuch journal. These were Light and Light Italic fonts with less stroke contrast and longer extenders. In 2014, I finally revisited the Devanagari portion of my old MA coursework. I completed the single Devanagari face I initially designed at Reading and then expanded it into a seven weight family. These fonts, which I called Martel Devanagari, were released as OpenSource fonts in 2014, and will soon join the Google Font directory. Since the Latin portion of my original Martel design had already been published as Malabar, the OpenSource Martel Devanagari fonts include Latin characters based on Eben Sorkin’s Merriweather typeface. Working together with Mathieu Réguer, I designed another OpenSource typeface in 2015 called Martel Sans. This is a new Latin and Devanagari family. It currently includes upright fonts in eight weights. The Devanagari portions of these fonts may be used together with Martel Devanagari, which has much more stroke contrast. The Latin characters of the Martel Sans Medium font match Malabar Regular in terms of overall paragraph color (see page 4).

UltraLight Light Regular DemiBold Bold ExtraBold Heavy


Page 3 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

Counterpunch Originally published on December 13, 2007 at www.ilovetypography.com Book Review by Dan Reynolds

Several Reading University classmates of mine from the typeface design programme share a small house. On the dining room wall is a poster that reads: To be blunt, and it is good advice to serious newcomers: do not make the mistake of being afraid to be labelled ‘conventional’, ‘traditional’, or any other such dusty term. If someone is compiling recommendations for aspiring type designers, include this one. It comes from Fred Smeijers’ 2004 book, Type Now: A Manifesto. Eight years earlier, Hyphen Press — Type Now’s publisher — released Smeijers’ Counterpunch. A book about typeface design, Counterpunch is also about possible lessons that sixteenth-century punchcutters from France and the low countries have for all of us today.

The pages in this specimen show Martel Sans, a new OpenSource typeface family from Dan Reynolds, Berlin, and Mathieu Réguer, Paris. The fonts were first published in 2015. Martel Sans supports many languages written with the Latin and Devanagari scripts.

This page shows 36pt Martel

Ultra Light, as well as Martel Regular and Heavy – each are set at 10/14pt. Captions throughout this document are set in 8pt Martel Regular, with variable linespacing.

A second edition of Counterpunch

was released by Hyphen Press in 2011. Its design differs from the first edition. The text of this review has not been updated to reflect the new release.

Details Fred Smeijers: Counterpunch – making type in the sixteenth century, designing typefaces now. Hyphen Press, London 1996. 220 × 145mm, 192 pages. At the moment, only for sale at Typotheque.com. Typeset in Renard, which may be licensed from the Enschedé Font Foundry. Printed on really nice paper. Why now? Writing a review about Counterpunch is a daunting task. It feels a bit like travelling back in time to review Laurence Olivier on stage. Moreover, Smeijers is alive and well, teaching, designing, and moving our consciousness forward; since his book was published, it has been widely discussed, at least in typographic circles. My review comes 12 years late. There has been much discussion about “recommended reading” on iLT as of late. After the recent review of the Logo, Font, and Lettering Bible, John asked me if I would write an article of my own. No single book can act as a complete introduction to typeface design, but everyone may have their own favourites — so sharing the titles can be a good idea. Counterpunch is one of these for me. A bit like The Elements of Typographic Style, Letters of Credit, or The Stroke, Counterpunch can have a sort of messianic effect. When I was in college, I saw one student inspired to start cutting his own punches. It took me longer to move toward typeface design, but once I did, I was lucky to come


Page 4 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

Why now? Writing a review about Counterpunch is a daunting task. It feels a bit like travelling back in time to review Laurence Olivier on stage. Moreover, Smeijers is alive and well, teaching, designing, and moving our consciousness forward; since his book was published, it has been widely discussed, at least in typographic circles. My review comes 12 years late. There has been much discussion about “recommended reading” on iLT as of late. After the recent review of the Logo, Font, and Lettering Bible, John asked me if I would write an article of my own. No single book can act as a complete introduction to typeface design, but everyone may have their own favourites — so sharing the titles can be a good idea. Counterpunch is one of these for me. A bit like The Elements of Typographic Style, Letters of Credit, or The Stroke, Counterpunch can have a sort of messianic effect. When I was in college, I saw one student inspired to start cutting his own punches. It took me longer to move toward typeface design, but once I did, I was lucky to come across Counterpunch again. The note on my halftitle page reminds me that I bought it in March 2004. My copy has been well-worn ever since.

Why now? Writing a review about Counterpunch is a daunting task. It feels a bit like travelling back in time to review Laurence Olivier on stage. Moreover, Smeijers is alive and well, teaching, designing, and moving our consciousness forward; since his book was published, it has been widely discussed, at least in typographic circles. My review comes 12 years late. There has been much discussion about “recommended reading” on iLT as of late. After the recent review of the Logo, Font, and Lettering Bible, John asked me if I would write an article of my own. No single book can act as a complete introduction to typeface design, but everyone may have their own favourites — so sharing the titles can be a good idea. Counterpunch is one of these for me. A bit like The Elements of Typographic Style, Letters of Credit, or The Stroke, Counterpunch can have a sort of messianic effect. When I was in college, I saw one student inspired to start cutting his own punches. It took me longer to move toward typeface design, but once I did, I was lucky to come across Counterpunch again. The note on my halftitle page reminds me that I bought it in March 2004. My copy has been well-worn ever since.

Language Most common typographic literature seems to be written in English these days, even by writers with other first languages. Whereas aspiring designers in continental Europe or other parts of the world may have problems parsing the lyrical texts of say, Robert Bringhurst, Smeijers writes with a direct, beautiful clarity. Is this a trait of his native Dutch? In many regards, if you aren’t a native Englishspeaker, Counterpunch might be a good first typography book; or at least your first English-language one.

Language Most common typographic literature seems to be written in English these days, even by writers with other first languages. Whereas aspiring designers in continental Europe or other parts of the world may have problems parsing the lyrical texts of say, Robert Bringhurst, Smeijers writes with a direct, beautiful clarity. Is this a trait of his native Dutch? In many regards, if you aren’t a native Englishspeaker, Counterpunch might be a good first typography book; or at least your first English-language one.

Lessons Smeijers’ commentary on written strokes, how these relate to letters or words, and the different kinds of lettermaking are worth the price of admission alone. This book, and much of his work itself, seems to have arisen out of a need to describe typography to engineers — but they are both more than just simple explanations. Each chapter could stand alone as a single lesson on a given topic. They work together, but separately form a collection of references that may be revisited individually at any time. I will spare you a repetition of Counterpunch’s contents and highlights — that would be like giving away the ending of a film. This is a review, not a summary.

Lessons Smeijers’ commentary on written strokes, how these relate to letters or words, and the different kinds of lettermaking are worth the price of admission alone. This book, and much of his work itself, seems to have arisen out of a need to describe typography to engineers — but they are both more than just simple explanations. Each chapter could stand alone as a single lesson on a given topic. They work together, but separately form a collection of references that may be revisited individually at any time. I will spare you a repetition of Counterpunch’s contents and highlights — that would be like giving away the ending of a film. This is a review, not a summary.

Fonts from the Martel Sans and Malabar® families may be combined with one another in document designs. Malabar® is another typeface of Dan Reynolds’, released in 2009; it may be licensed from www.linotype.com or any other website that distributes fonts from Monotype GmbH.

Left: Martel Sans; text set in the Medium weight, with Heavy headers. Right: Malabar® LT Pro; text set in the Regular weight, with Bold headers. All fonts 9/12pt. Malabar is a trademark of Monotype GmbH registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions.


Page 5 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

For the moment, Martel Sans should be viewed as Public Beta software. Although the letters’ sidebearings have been carefully set, the font files currently include little kerning data. The fonts available to download from GitHub or Google Fonts also have only one set of figures (tabular lining) – at least if you do not count the Devanagari figures. Martel Sans will eventually receive proportional lining figures and oldstyle figures; the oldstyle figures visible on these pages are still in development. Small caps are also in the works.

across Counterpunch again. The note on my halftitle page reminds me that I bought it in March 2004. My copy has been well-worn ever since. Language Most common typographic literature seems to be written in English these days, even by writers with other first languages. Whereas aspiring designers in continental Europe or other parts of the world may have problems parsing the lyrical texts of say, Robert Bringhurst, Smeijers writes with a direct, beautiful clarity. Is this a trait of his native Dutch? In many regards, if you aren’t a native English-speaker, Counterpunch might be a good first typography book; or at least your first Englishlanguage one. Lessons Smeijers’ commentary on written strokes, how these relate to letters or words, and the different kinds of letter-making are worth the price of admission alone. This book, and much of his work itself, seems to have arisen out of a need to describe typography to engineers — but they are both more than just simple explanations. Each chapter could stand alone as a single lesson on a given topic. They work together, but separately form a collection of references that may be revisited individually at any time. I will spare you a repetition of Counterpunch’s contents and highlights — that would be like giving away the ending of a film. This is a review, not a summary. Just as one cannot become a photographer by reading a book about Photoshop, typeface design is not about learning how to use FontLab, or even about learning how to control vector outlines. Many aspirants become seduced by flashy help guides, and think that simple software knowledge will take them to their goal. Smeijers explains how the masters of the past made type in actual size, at a “resolution” of c. 2540 dpi. Only a few names are mentioned in this book; that might be because these characters have each shaped the way that writing in the West would appear for centuries. The ways by which sixteenth century punchcutters thought is what must be comprehended, not the newest key combinations in the latest software programmes. Software itself will offer no help — it is just a means to an end. This book hardly mentions font creation applications at all. Counterpunch could have been written today, or at any time since the mid-1980s. It doesn’t matter, because it gets to the root of typeface design rather quickly. Typeface design is about the interplay between black and white shapes. I know that this idea might sound cliché because you can read about it in every type designer interview. If you’ve seen the Helvetica movie, then you have heard it there, too. Isn’t there a


Page 6 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

clip on the Internet somewhere where Erik Spiekermann mentions it? This repetition is the truth. So take that clip of Erik’s voice and turn it up to 11. Then play it on auto-repeat. Toward the end of Counterpunch, Smeijers’ tone takes on the timbre of a Jeremiah in the wilderness, a message that extends into Type Now. The methods we use in our work may not include the best possibilities, and it this reminder that can only be of benefit to us. Smeijers’ work illustrates tendencies that may be followed in word and deed. How many of us today are better, quicker, and more deliberate because of this book? Meaning Counterpunch is more than a book. It is also a love letter to Hendrik van den Keere and a type specimen for the Renard family. The reader will find much to discover, such as sound definitions for a few old terms, a narrative of a father–son relationship, commentary on a Harry Carter translation of a Pierre Simon Fournier tract; or information about the French punchcutter Pierre Haultin, who is more obscure than he deserves! Over 12 years, Counterpunch has meant many things to its readers. What it means to me today is an unsettling feeling, deep inside my gut. The feeling asks me, “Is Smeijers serious? Should I really turn a working method on it’s head? Is it a better to draw the counters first?” I think so. Draw your letters from the inside out – they will be better.


Page 7 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

José Mendoza y Almeida Originally published on April 4, 2010 at www.ilovetypography.com Book Review by Dan Reynolds Who is Jose Mendoza? José Mendoza y Almeida was perhaps the most internationally active 20th century French type designer. While he also produced work for local distributors, his most significant faces were published by companies abroad, including the Amsterdam Typefoundry, Monotype, and ITC. Born in 1926, Mendoza’s career has been primarily devoted to activities in the fields of graphic design, illustration, and calligraphy. During his professional career, he has never worked as a full-time type designer, although he was a typographic educator from 1985–1990. His Pascal, Photina, and ITC Mendoza Roman typefaces are currently on the market, and each has played its own significant role in the history of 20th century type. He’s the subject of a new book The Paris-based Blibliothèque Typographique announced José Mendoza y Almeida in February. This is the first full-volume text in any language dedicated to Mendoza. The exquisite 169-page book offers a detailed glimpse into his type design work. Its bilingual text will hopefully ensure more recognition for Mendoza both at home and internationally. I must admit that before reading this book, I was not very familiar with Mendoza or his typefaces. On the occasions where I had come across his name, it was most often in connection with Photina. With so many typefaces to juggle in your mind, it is often only too easy to categorize them into little cupboards; you make associations in your head based on things you hear people say. Whenever I heard “Photina,” the bell that went off for me was, “the first good phototype family!” Yet this never drove me to the specimen books to examine Photina’s forms for myself. After reading this book, I can safely say how great a pity that was. Conceived as a kind of serif counterpart to Univers – in terms of family size and structure, not design – only eight weights of Photina were ever actually released. But Photina’s forms are groundbreakingly interesting, and this book displays them well. What would the family have looked like if all of the intended weights had been finished? How large an effect on the course of type design’s development would an enlarged Photina have had on the 1970s? Or on the 1980s? Pondering this book’s essay on Photina raises many “what if?” questions, a recurring theme throughout the text.


Page 8 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

The Martel Sans family currently includes eight weights. All of the fonts are upright; italics may be developed at a later time.

Martel UltraLight Martel Light Martel Regular Martel Medium Martel DemiBold Martel Bold Martel ExtraBold Martel Heavy

Why you should care The more experience that I gain as a type designer, the more I realize how little I know or understand regarding the depths of French typeface history. Glancing at the surface of things, it would seem that there has been an unbroken lineage of excellence handed down from the past half-millennium that runs from Garamond, Granjon, and Jannon through to the Romain du Roi concept, the work of the Fourniers and Didots, across to the 20th and 21st centuries. The past 100 years alone have brought us the work of Georges Peignot, A.M. Cassandre, Marcel Jacno, François Ganeau, Roger Excoffon, Ladislas Mandel, Thierry Puyfoulhoux, Franck Jalleau, and Jean François Porchez. And this is before one mentions that the bulk of Adrian Frutiger’s career was spent working in France. There is also the writing of Maximilien Vox to consider. Several of my favorite designers from my own generation are French, including Jean-Baptiste Levée, Mathieu Réguer, and Jonathan Perez. The problem with creating lists like the one above is that a tremendous amount is left out. History is not made up of the signposts along a trail, but rather by the footprints along the path. Rattling off a list of names offers no real understanding of why certain forms look the way they do, what drove the artisans who made them, and what all of this has to offer us in our current practice. About the book The strength of this book is the in-depth presentation of Mendoza’s three most-significant typefaces. Many photographs of Mendoza’s original sketches and production drawings are included in the book, artefacts that are disappearing from type design practice. Reading the book, I asked myself, how will the work of my own type-designer generation be documented by future historians? We do not leave behind the same breadcrumbs as our recent forebears. Called the “godfather” of French type design by the authors, perhaps a more apt description for Mendoza might be “unsung hero.” His contribution to the canon of French design is significant, and may become more established with this book. Since Mendoza is not well-known to recent generations of designers—especially outside of France—more biographical information about him would have been interesting. In many ways, José Mendoza y Almeida reminds me of Fred Smeijers’ Type now. Both books have similar dimensions.


Page 9 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

Although it may unfortunately be viewed as a gimmick, the fonts include one small OpenType extra. In a Stylistic Set, there is an alternate version of the two. The standard two looks like this: 2, and the alternate looks like this: 2. From now on, this alternate version of the two should be referred to as the “Offenbach Two.”

2014 auf 2015 2014 auf 2015 2014 auf 2015 2014 auf 2015 2014 auf 2015 2014 auf 2015 2014 auf 2015 2014 auf 2015

The focus of José Mendoza y Almeida is narrower; it includes five essays encapsulating the process behind specific typefaces, or styles of typefaces, designed by Mendoza. The essays include: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Pascal (Martin Majoor) Photina (Sébastien Morlighem) Five calligraphic typefaces (Martin Majoor) The invention of the “mécalde” (Sébastien Morlighem) ITC Mendoza Roman (Sébastien Morlighem)

Unlike Type now, this book presents a more objective display of a designer’s body of work. The text was not prepared by the designer himself, so information is presented in a third person voice. The small, partially full-color “portfolio” section in the back of the book is less good. It feels removed from the main narrative of the book. Again, I tie mental parallels with Type now, whose end, color “portfolio” section is both more thought out, and more whimsical. José Mendoza y Almeida’s portfolio section includes images that seem to bear no relation to the main text of book. Were these images included just because they are pretty? Additionally, we see some glimpses of yearly “holiday cards” designed by Mendoza. Some other similar cards are presented on the inside flap of the back cover. Are these cards something that Mendoza designed and distributed every year? I did not find much mention of these in the text. The French/English split of the text works well most of the time, with French texts displayed verso, English texts, recto. In captions the text is always presented in French first, followed by English. I quickly adapted to this, only being disrupted after flipping through extended spreads filled mostly with high-quality, well-reproduced images. They are so captivating that it was difficult for me to reorient my mind and my eye to reading regular text. The book is set in Lyon Text, a Commercial Type face from Kai Bernau. Lyon Text imbibes from the fountain of Robert Granjon’s work. This gives it a similar air to Mendoza’s oeuvre. José Mendoza y Almeida explains that Mendoza’s work is deeply influenced by French humanist type from the Renaissance onward; and Granjon was one of this strand’s key players. Perhaps one could imagine the book set in a Mendoza face—particularly ITC Mendoza Roman; or an authorized Brennus revival might have been appropriate. In terms of “complete” typeface families, only Mendoza’s most recent release would likely fall into this category: ITC Mendoza Roman. Released in 1991, the family includes three weights, each with a companion italic. However, Pauline Nuñez’s (the book’s designer) decision to set the text in a more neutral typeface—similar in flavor but still different—helps set the


Page 10 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

images apart from the other pages. When an image appears, you are certain that it is featuring work by Mendoza himself. Jan Middendorp’s introduction ends with a message to designers that is particularly apt for our time. I am thankful that he included it, and think that it should be repeated here. Perhaps a similar text should be included in more design books: “With today’s technology, making quick ‘revivals’, capitalizing on the ideas that lend these alphabets their vibrant originality, may seem a piece of cake. But if anyone decides to ‘do something’ with these alphabets, he or she should proceed with caution and respect. Their designer is still alive and well, and he may have ideas about what to do it them – and what not.” Mendoza’s legacy Since Mendoza’s engagement with type design has been parttime, taking place over several decades, it seems that just as many of his concepts—if not more than half—were either never published, or have been withdrawn from the market owing to the closure of type manufacturers. Two instances covered are particularly representative: Pascal’s unreleased Italic, and the discontinued Brennus family. Pascal was Mendoza’s first typeface, published by the Amsterdam Typefoundry in 1962. Before the phototype era, this typeface was only distributed in a single weight. From 1962–1967, Mendoza worked with the Amsterdam Typefoundry to develop a Pascal italic, though it never came to market. Would it have been published, Pascal Italic may have been the world’s first humanist sans serif italic. Perhaps this does not sound so revolutionary now, as the average graphic designer most-likely has several of these in his font folder; but in 1967, none were available. Optima’s roman (similar to Pascal) was only sold with obliques, a trend that was the rule for grotesk-style sans serifs of the time. Brennus was a two weight design for Socotep. The family was on the market during the 1980s, but is no longer in active distribution. This design is an almost monolinear Egyptienne, with oldstyle traces. For me, Brennus is the centerpiece of a chapter on “mécaldes,” which – according to Sébastien Morlighem – represent a genre invented by Mendoza. “Mécaldes” are a combination of “mécanes” and “garaldes,” two categories of type from Vox’s classification system. The typical English-language terms are slab serif and oldstyle. After reading this book, I was really left wanting to know more about Brennus, a Mendoza typeface no longer in distribution. This is not because I felt the text on Brennus lacking, or because I feel that Brennus offers some secret key to unlocking further type design understanding. I just really like the typeface, and would like to see more of it.


Page 11 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

Visit github.com/typeoff/martel-sans/ to find and download the most up-todate .otf and .ttf versions of the Martel Sans fonts, as well as the Glyphs-App source file and .ufo masters. The .ufo masters can be opened in almost any font-editing application.

The fonts may also be downloaded

or installed on your website by visiting google.com/fonts/.

A single-page Monotype advertisement from 1979 illustrates Mendoza in the company of Morison, Gill, and Van Krimpen. The ad is in English, and I wonder which four designers a French company might have chosen as their titans of 20th century type design. Would Mendoza have made the French list? On the other hand, that the advertisement was a Monotype one is revealing. At the time, type designers tended to be bound to certain foundries, or at least partner with one at a time. No foundry could yet claim to have all of a century’s famous European designers under one roof. This is one of many differences in 21st century font marketing. The period post-1979 has seen the rise of mega companies, which absorbed numerous smaller foundries from a number of countries. In the last two decades, we have also seen the rise of font distributors that resell the products of multiple companies and individual designers alike. José Mendoza y Almeida is a real page-turner. I went from cover to cover in two afternoons. Not only was the book a fun read, but it made me think. Blibliothèque Typographique has issued a great production. The book contains a few minor flaws, but as an object it feels lovely in the hand. It also makes for very easy reading. The texture of the paper is optimal, the type clear, the layout engaging, and the illustrations rich. I highly recommend this book to anyone in the field.


Page 12 – Specimen of the Martel Sans typeface – Berlin – March 14, 2015 – dan@typeoff.de

Sample text in Martel Sans; eight weights, 33/41pt

Martel is considered to be a founding figure of the European Middle Ages. Skilled as an administrator & warrior, he’s often credited with a seminal role in developing of both feudalism and knighthood. Martel was a great patron of Saint Boniface and made the first attempt for a reconciliation between the Papacy and the Franks. The Pope wishing him to become the defender of the Holy See, offered to name him a Roman consul; he refused the offer. Although not assuming the title of king, he did divide Francia between his

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Martel Sans specimen  

PDF specimen of the Martel Sans typeface (https://github.com/typeoff/martel_sans)

Martel Sans specimen  

PDF specimen of the Martel Sans typeface (https://github.com/typeoff/martel_sans)

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