Letternews

Letternews: Top-Heavy Sans Serifs

July 27, 2016 by
FontShop Team
FontShop Team

Customary practice when drawing Latin letters is to make the stems — the vertical and diagonal strokes — heavier than those running horizontally. Then there’s reverse contrast, which does the opposite. And then there’s this, which can look like an obvious gimmick, but which also has a rather functional benefit, placing emphasis along the x-height line.

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Antique Olive

Roger Excoffon for Linotype

Drawn to go up against more neutral typefaces like Helvetica® and Univers®, Roger Excoffon inspired generations of designers with a single type family full of variance of form, warmth and personality. It’s also been the model for a number of typefaces for telephone directories, meaning that it performs well at small sizes and under adverse printing conditions.

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Gerbera

Gayaneh Bagdasaryan and Vyacheslav Kirilenko for Brownfox

Just unsettling enough to make you wonder if you’re seeing things right, Gerbera’s forms push slightly past mechanical linearity, letting its horizontal strokes dominate the rest. The result is something more a product of the drafting table than the printing tradition, a perfect choice for a brief that requires a slightly industrial feel. Five weights in all. Includes Cyrillic.

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FF Balance

Evert Bloemsma for FontFont

Evert Bloemsma’s seminal work makes use of weight, contrast, and negative space in novel ways, creating a sans for small sizes with a deliciously inviting typographic color. Another unusual characteristic of the FF Balance font is that its character dimensions match across its weights, meaning you can change weight without worry of reflowing the text. Four full weights.

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Signo

Rui Abreu for Rui Abreu

More than any other featured here, Rui Abreu’s Signo plays up its own calligraphic construction, demonstrating what happens when you take the pen angle from a comfortable 30° and tip it all the way up to 60°. Striking in poster work and comfortable for long reading.

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Quimera

Alejandro Lo Celso for PampaType

And lastly, Alejandro Lo Celso’s homage to Antique Olive, Quimera. It’s a sans structure with occasional serifs, mostly used for reinforcing the baseline, though they also work to produce a unique texture that’s particularly advantageous when establishing an identity. Five styles in all.

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What’s OpenType again?

The font format is in its 20th year, and yet only lately have we begun to see real support for its features in browsers and design apps. FontShop editor David Sudweeks guides us through some of the ways pro OpenType fonts save you time and reach new expressive and linguistic possibilities.

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Trademark attribution notice
FontShop is a trademark of Monotype GmbH and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. Helvetica is a trademark of Monotype Imaging Inc. registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions. Univers is a trademark of Monotype GmbH registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions. Antique Olive is a trademark of Madame Marcel Olive. Balance is a trademark of Monotype GmbH and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. FF and FontFont are trademarks of Monotype GmbH registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.