Naming the extreme styles on a contrast axis?

I'm working on a (variable) font that has masters with stroke contrast ranging from clearly modulated to monolinear. While I am mostly fine with the contrast axis name, I wonder what name you would find descriptive of those extremes when exported as separate style families?

So far I am working with "normal" and "linear", but especially the "normal" rubs me totally wrong. While for this design it is true that the "natural" state is the master with contrast I don't want to communicate that one is the default or favorable compared to the other. I am not sure how descriptive the "linear" is to graphic designers, either, but my hunch is that many don't instinctively understand what contrast refers to in the context of a typeface family range.

Any references or idea? :#
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Comments

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 706
    High and low?
  • Let me clarify. So for the OTVar the axis is what the user accesses, say in a layout application, but when also exporting the two extremes as separate styles I would end up with fonts in the menu like:

    AcmeFont Normal Regular
    AcmeFont Normal Regular Oblique
    AcmeFont Normal Bold
    AcmeFont Normal Bold Oblique
    AcmeFont Linear Regular
    AcmeFont Linear Regular Oblique
    AcmeFont Linear Bold
    AcmeFont Linear Bold Oblique

    So in that context neither "Normal" works, nor does "High" and "Low", although it does describe the contrast.
  • Jasper de WaardJasper de Waard Posts: 285
    edited May 18
    Large, as in, intended for large sizes (and large amount of contrast)
    Small, as in, useful in smaller sizes (and small amount of contrast)?

    I assume you don't want to use display and text?

    Edit: I see that's not what you mean...
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,077
    Normal plus Regular may cause a problem. Both those terms mean the basic (default) text weight of the family so they do not differentiate from each other
  • Steve GardnerSteve Gardner Posts: 43
    Anything wrong with 'modulated' and 'linear'?
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,540
    If they’re optical sizes use small, medium, large, huge, etc.. If they’re just contrast grades use coarse, medium, fine, hairline, etc..
  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 425
    For 4.5 point and below, call it "micetype".
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,084
    edited May 19
    Font1 and Font2?  ;-)

    I'm not entirely kidding: contrast is a parameter that affects the character of a typeface more than most others. It could be fun and might seem convenient to bundle contrasty and monoline versions, but to me they become essentially different typefaces, undermining the logic of type selection. Too much versatility can kill focus. Now if the contrast variance is intended as an optical compensation (as some people have been tempted to interpret it above) then that's OK – and then the naming can follow precedents (although "coarse" for one doesn't really jibe in my book).
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 706
    Essentially, weight is a function of how thick the stems are, and contrast a function of how thick the hairlines are. So how about, in jargon-free terms:
    AcmeFont ThinThins ThinThicks
    AcmeFont ThinThins ThinThicks Slanted
    AcmeFont ThinThins ThickThicks
    AcmeFont ThinThins ThickThicks Slanted
    AcmeFont ThickThins ThinThicks
    AcmeFont ThickThins ThinThicks Slanted
    AcmeFont ThickThins ThickThicks
    AcmeFont ThickThins ThickThicks Slanted
     :p 
  • Thanks for the discussion. The Font1 and Font2 suggestion is not too far off. I wouldn't give them entirely different names, since the "familiarity" of these two alternates (and the space between) is the whole point, but a blunt AcmeFont A and AcmeFont B would at least communicate quite succinctly that these are variants.

    Based on discussion here and elsewhere my current favorites are "Contrast & Linear" (Monolinear would be more descriptive, but even longer still), but not 100% convinced — thankfully there is other things to improve upon :D
    Needless to say that font menus are all over the place with this, following no conclusive logic or style linking from what I can tell (some are alphabetical, to an extent, then grouping some weights together, but not all, ...).

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,084
    I've just remembered the wonderfully named Bernini system by JAF, composed of Bernina and Bernino!

    I think Contrast & Linear is pretty good though.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 921
    edited May 22
    There was a VGC face in the seventies called Baker Sans that had three different contrast styles: Mono (very similar to Helvetica), Display, and Fineline. I wouldn't necessarily endorse it as a solution, but thought it was worth mentioning.
  • Peter ConstablePeter Constable Posts: 159
    What would happen if you just leave the "normal" value unmarked? I.e., instead of

    AcmeFont Normal Regular
    AcmeFont Normal Regular Oblique
    AcmeFont Normal Bold
    AcmeFont Normal Bold Oblique
    AcmeFont Linear Regular
    AcmeFont Linear Regular Oblique
    AcmeFont Linear Bold
    AcmeFont Linear Bold Oblique

    do this:

    AcmeFont Regular
    AcmeFont Regular Oblique
    AcmeFont Bold
    AcmeFont Bold Oblique
    AcmeFont Linear Regular
    AcmeFont Linear Regular Oblique
    AcmeFont Linear Bold
    AcmeFont Linear Bold Oblique

  • Thanks for the insightful answers. I agree the mono adds more confusion than it solves, but I like the use-case oriented approach to the naming — it just might not fit this style range. It kind of goes back to what display, text and caption do for optical sizes by describing the essential sum of differences, not just one attribute.

    @Peter Constable That's what I started off with, but felt it designates one style as the default, the other as a variation; when really I want them to be a pair of same lineage, but different in voice.
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