I’d interested to hear your opinions on this. I’ve been sketching on an off for a while, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort to finish it. There are plenty of geometric sans serifs out there,  particulary the grotesque-ed geometrics.

(PS: You might notice the vertical proportions—enitrely nicked from Helvetica! I’m not posting this as something I intend to release in its present form anyway, so I figured it might make for an interesting conversation. Is it OK to reuse vertical metrics?)

PDF link


  • I think this is clear and handsome, and have no problem w/ borrowing an x-height.  As you say, there are a lot of new geometric sanses out there, and a lot of new grotesques, but this does seem to blur distinctions between the two categories more than most.  The closest thing I can think of is some of House Industries' Chalet pastiches, like Chalet Paris 1960 (  But I also wonder whether this will wind up being distinctive enough to find a place of its own.

    I think the aperture in the S is a little large, and that the character overall is a little too narrow on top, but maybe that's just my taste.  The r may be a hair wide.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,618
    Borrowing vertical metrics seems fine to me. It’s not like there are actually that many options to choose from between 62 and 74 percent of cap height.

    As fr the design, I think it is lacking in personality. Right now some letters feel like Avant Garde, and some feel like Helvetica. But that can be developed into something that stands on it’s own. 
  • Perhaps the only way to make this useful would be to produce it in a staggeringly large range of weights and widths. 
    Out Univers Univers.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,391
    It is still possible to produce new designs.
    Have you seen Fenland?


    However, the idea of a face that would discreetly corrupt a setting in Helvetica is interesting.
  • For educational benefit, sure, the work required finessing this design into something really polished and distinctive would probably pay dividends. As far as 'would the time required cost less than the revenues from the first few years selling it?', I doubt it. This is a pretty well-stocked genre at the moment.
  • Nick, I love the attitude in Fenland. I've got boundery-pushing stuff on the shelf too. I'm not really this (astrup) kinda designer, but I need some time to prove it:)

    James. A gazillion weights is just a technology byproduct. It's a good while since that was a sign of quality.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,391
    Yes, I've seen and admired Noir -- great way to launch a reputation!
    Due to OpenType, I've updated most of my older faces, and along with adding glyphs and features, have taken the opportunity to change some details. So one route you could take with Astrup is to release a mini-family (basic four weights) in a limited encoding. Later, if you feel the design warrants it (or if someone else commissions…) you can do a makeover. Or commission Christian Schwartz to do it :-)
    From what I see here the curved terminals of “t” and “f” are too pointy (too acute on the inside corner), more like they belong in the Frutiger genre. And this is only a hybrid of grot and geo. 
  • James. A gazillion weights is just a technology byproduct. It's a good while since that was a sign of quality.

  • The "C" seems a little wide (or the "D" is too narrow), to me, at least. The Tail on the Q is interesting but I'm not sure how I feel about it.

    Regarding the x-height, I think it makes sense and would rather that the x-height be borrowed from something else than if you changed it "just so it wasn't the same" and for no other reason.
  • Russell_McGormanRussell_McGorman Posts: 189
    edited March 2012
    Folks will do stuff just because the can do it, if there is some technology that makes it doable, But, really... Quality is a reliable sign of quality. If, beyond the usual standard weights, the gazillions of weights are just there to bloat the product then they really are a just byproduct of technology, but ,I can't think of a time I looked at typeface, counter the number of weights and had any thought one way or the other about the quality of the font based the number. I might have had some thoughts about the versatility.

    There are real uses for multiple weights and variants with specific applications and conditions. Some signage fonts have weights intended to compensate for different optical effects of front or back lighting and positive or negative text. (EG., Jame's ClearviewHwy and Spiekermann' FF Transit)

    A Light Medium and Bold, plus Italics for the four conditions listed above adds up to 24 weights and then, maybe you want add condensed and extended versions...

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,391
    edited April 2012
    James M may have been thinking of the marketing raison d'être for a typeface, i.e. how to position your product in the market and make it stand out from other similar types. Given that this is a hugely populated genre with subtle and IMO specious distinctions between most of its members, providing one's offering with features such as a large family, big language support, multiple OpenType features, etc., etc., is a good idea.
  • What Nick and Russell said!
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,391
    I don't think it’s enough merely to show this kind of specimen for consideration, which is only slightly better than Hamburgefonts or just the alphabet.
    Look at it setting the same text as a bunch of other similar types.
    Like having different pianos play the same tune and seeing which sounds best.
    But also consider whether you can make it look (apparent size) and fit (characters per pica) like any exisiting faces, by changing layout parameters such as horizontal scaling and kerning/tracking (though not in this case x-height!)
    Once you have “equalized” the settings, then you can compare types and really start to see the significant differences.

    I first adopted this technique when commissioned to replace some fonts in a newspaper. My new fonts had to look as “big” and fit at least the same amount of text as the previous incumbent; and I also set a variety of other news fonts to the same spec.
  • I double posted this as an experiment, because I wanted to compare Typedrawers (neé Typeboard) to Typophile. Apparently the former is supposed to have a better noise-to-substance ratio (due to Hrantlessness or smthn like that …). In any case, my experiment failed miserably because the topic sucked.
  • But you did get Hrant to post several multi-paragraph responses.

    And all this time I thought you wanted an honest comment.

    Silly me.

    But I will always remember:
    James. A gazillion weights is just a technology byproduct. It's a good while since that was a sign of quality.
    Good luck with all your future endeavors.
  • Interpolation is the second-lowest form of type design.
  • Another member too lazy to fill out their profile.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,391
    At least he's better-looking than you :-)
  • And all this time I thought you wanted an honest comment.
    Oh, I did. And I don’t think Hrant’s responses were so off!
  • I would have responded here if I hadn't seen it there first.
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