Ludwig belongs to the group of sanserif types known as 'grotesque', a name introduced in the 1830s when sanserifs began appearing regularly as printing types. Sanserifs were in general seen as blunt and inelegant, hence names like grotesque. British typefounders were the first to produce sanserifs, initially in fonts of capitals only, followed intermittently by attempts to create lowercase designs. These early efforts were intended for display and decoration.
According to Smeijers, it was the German typefounders who first produced sanserifs in sizes suitable for text, with fully matching upper and lowercase designs. They recognized the potential of this 'new' kind of letter for text, if at first for only a few lines, but later in larger amounts. Grotesques as we now know them were born, and have since proven hugely popular.
OurType Ludwig is based on these first German sanserifs. But it is not a mere revival. It embodies Smeijers personal vision of how a early 19th-century sanserif design might look and perform today. While Ludwig's upper- and lowercase roman shapes are rooted in the mid-19th century, its italic is more contemporary in approach - not a 'sloped' version of the roman but a 'true' italic, narrower and 'humanistic'.
"Ludwig charms simply by being there, without looking too smooth and beautiful," says Smeijers. Yet capturing that charm - a certain clumsiness typical of early sanserifs - was not an easy task. Smeijers thinks Ludwig gets it right.
A browse through its glyphs reveals a large variety of ligatures and other fine typographic features necessary for the present day use, together with forms a range of glyphs which echoe typical 19th century letterforms - like the capital G, for instance. Yet Ludwig gains in versatility by offering additional modern alternates glyphs, including for G, Q, W, a and g in the roman, and G, Q, W and g in the italic.
Ludwig's other significant feature is that it's been designed as a companion to OurType Arnhem. Both families have the same x-height, cap-height, ascender-height, and descender-depth proportions, and while Ludwig offers more weights, most are shared with Arnhem. This makes the two designs are at once well suited to each other and distinctive counterparts.
Ludwig consists of eight weights - Thin, Blond, Light, Normal, SemiBold, Bold, Black and ExtraBlack - of roman and italic designs, built around three widths - normal, semicondensed, and condensed; with a total of forty-eight fonts. Additional to the Pro set includes small caps; lining, old style and small cap figures (each in tabular and proportional widths); fractions; comprehensive scientific superiors and inferiors, nominators and denominators; case sensitive punctuation sets; mathematical and monetary symbols (in tabular and proportional widths); arrows; standard and discretionary ligatures; and a complete range of accents for all (Latin script based) Western, Central and East European languages.
Great for packaging, striking in headlines, catchy in posters and, above all, remarkably pleasant in text, Ludwig surprises - and delivers - with its all-round qualities and in the most varied and demanding design environments.
Ludwig supports 111 different languages such as Spanish, English, Portuguese, German and French in Latin scripts. (Please note that not all languages are available for all formats.)