About the Neue Frutiger 1450

Hi,

I would be glad to have your opinion concerning the Neue Frutiger 1450 released by Monotype. I've also seen that they have published an article : "DIN 1450 – the German standard on legibility of texts" which could be seen as a marketing argument to justify, and sell this 1450 serie. (Maybe I'm wrong?).

I've seen some tough feedbacks on Twitter today by some weel known and hi-skilled type designers :

Concerning the article Din 1450 :

So, I would like to have more feedbacks (140 char. is really short), more opinions about this typeface.
What you think about the font itself ? The need of such release ? The legibility issue ?

Thanks

hrant's picture

So is the complaint that the suffix "1450" is being used to legitimize a slight variation of a common typeface?

And yeah, do avoid Twitter if you want anything more than emotion. :-)

hhp

J Weltin's picture

Apparently this DIN 1450 thing is meant as a suggestion. But in Germany we do need everything written down in DIN for the sake of safety and in case of claiming damages. To put a German wordplay i’d say that the Frutiger type has not „verDINt“ (= deserved) this treatment. And i am very sure that Adrian Frutiger would have not approved this. He wanted his shapes ‹naked› and sharp as arrows. Sadly, he is suffering from illness and can’t defend himself any longer.

hrant's picture

But Kobayashi is an honorable person.

hhp

J Weltin's picture

Did anybody say he wasn’t?

hrant's picture

Not that I know of.

hhp

J Weltin's picture

Good. The thing is: the Frutiger type is one of Linotype’s best selling typefaces and it is widely used in circumstances where bureaucrats might point out that in a given environment (medical packages or important signage) there has to be used a typeface that is in the DIN 1450 norm. So, now people who don’t want to give up Frutiger have the choice of a Frutiger alternative which every lawyer can approve of. I am just assuming that Adrian Frutiger would not like this alternate design of his typeface very much, no matter how well executed it is.

Aure's picture

Thanks for your feedbacks guys.
And what you think about the legibility thing ?
Do you think these new shapes are better than the classical one ?

J Weltin's picture

Making Frutiger more legible is like making water more fluid.

Albert Jan Pool's picture

Together with prof. Florian Adler, Ivo Gabrowitsch (FSI), Ralf Herrmann, Otmar Hoefer (Linotype), Peter Karow (ex URW), prof. Indra Kupferschmid and several experts on issues concerning low vision, optics and lighting, I have been working on the new DIN 1450. Please allow me to serve you with some facts in this discussion.
– DIN norms are not laws, they are norms. Their use can be enforced by contracts or laws, but that is subject to business- or political discussions and decisions.
– DIN is not stately-owned, the DIN norms are defined by its committee members. It is up to the designers and their organisations to either leave that work up to bureaucrats, other specialists, fellow-designers or to take a seat in a DIN committee …
– Unlike the previous version, DIN 1450 does not prescribe the use of sans serif typefaces for almost any kind of typography. In the informative section, the new DIN 1450 recommends the use of sans serif typefaces for public signage, but not for any text in the public space.
– DIN 1450 does not prescribe the use of Frutiger, let alone Neue Frutiger or Neue Frutiger 1450. Frutiger is included in a list of typefaces which are mainly recommended for signage. Frutiger 1450 has not been included in that lists, because at the time DIN 1450 was approved by the committee, Frutiger 1450 was not available and maybe even not planned for yet.
– DIN 1450 does not include a specific typeface design (such as DIN 1451 on typefaces does, it includes DIN 1451 Mittelschrift and DIN Engschrift).
– DIN 1450 does not prescribe the use of sans serif typefaces for medical packages or medical information leaflets.
– DIN 1450 distinguishes between several kinds of texts: Display text, reading text, caption / consultatory text, signage. For each kind of text an appropriate range of sizes has been defined. Type sizes are referred to by the x-height in mm, related to typical viewing distances. Appropriate typefaces for these kind of texts are indicated by ranges for aspects such as stroke weights and counter width in percentages related to their x-height. Display typefaces are not subject to any requirements, except for a minimum x-height.
– Next to the normative part, DIN 1450 has an informative section. For signage, the list of recommended typefaces shows a clear preference for Humanist Sans Serif and Grotesque (and not for Geometric Sans and Neo-Grotesque)*. The list includes includes Calibri, Frutiger, Myriad, Thesis –The Sans, Verdana and Wayfinding Sans, just to name a few.
– DIN 1450 does not prescribe a seriffed-one, a zero-with-dot or a crooked-l. In the informative section it is recommended to use these kind of variations when means of positioning or indication (i.e. typography and/or context) fail. Note that most traffic sign systems have been designed in such a way that ambiguity between letters and figures is virtually impossible. Let alone most documents. Ambiguity is likely to occur in IBAN and BIC codes, captchas and other nerdy inventions.**

* I would rather recommend FontShop’s FontBook app to figure out what typefaces belong to these classes than the current classification which Monotype uses on fonts.com though. To me, it is totally unclear what reasoning they may have followed to come up with the idea that, next to Frutiger, Univers Next also is a Humanist Sans Serif:
http://www.fonts.com/browse/classifications/humanistic-sans

** In my personal view it would rather make sense to fight against ambiguous coding systems rather than wasting our times with slot-filling projects such as adding or substituting decent letterforms by the aforementioned poppycock. Unless for Designers’ Reasoning of course. If I were Frutiger and dead, I’d be rotating in my grave in turbo-mode …

hrant's picture

Making Frutiger more legible is like making water more fluid.

That would be a gas! ;-)

Albert Jan, thanks for the expert insight.

hhp

J Weltin's picture

Right, Hrant! And thanks Albert Jan!

Albert Jan Pool's picture

Recently, Monotype released quite a promising range of eText typefaces. As far as I can judge from the screen, they would also serve as a ‘caption’ size, as Adobe and others call it. They are primarily marketed as Web or e-Reading fonts, but I suppose that many of these fonts would also
– do better in small print than their regular companions (and in regular print sizes as well, I’m afraid …).
– meet the requirements for ‘consulting text’ (small print such as footnotes and captions which contains additional information to the main text) as defined in the new DIN 1450 norm.

Just to show that the new DIN 1450 does not just try to implement an old norm for signage (i.e. the strict use of sans serifs in the neo-grotesque style) on books.

Albert Jan Pool's picture

Ralf Herrmann wrote an excellent article on why and how DIN 1450 has been revised on Typografie.info

hrant's picture

eText typefaces ... would also serve as a ‘caption’ size

Since "caption" fonts of the print world are not meant for long text, I wonder if that's a testament to the fact that the screen remains inferior for reading... On the other hand my e-reader is quite close to a dead-tree reading experience.

hhp

Albert Jan Pool's picture

One of the major changes to the previous version of DIN 1450 is that the new version does not anymore take the capital height in mm as a reference for defining type sizes. In the new version, requirements for type sizes are related to the x-height. This way of defining requirements for type sizes is likely to be adapted by other DIN norms in the future. It will also influence the way German legislation will be defining such requirements.

The EC seems to be heading in the same direction. The new legislation on ‘the provision of food information for consumers’ (i.e. packaging etc.) specifies that ‘mandatory particulars […] shall be printed […] in characters using a font size where the x-height […] is equal or greater than 1,2 mm.’ Regulation No 1169/2011, Chapter IV, Section 1, Article 13.2, Page L 304/29 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:304:0018...
FYI: The typeface is a customized version of DTL Albertina :–)

For those who like to think that it is not really possible to define the size of a typeface by its x-height, I’d like to refer to the new ‘x-Tools for Adobe InDesign’ http://www.x-tools.eu

hrant's picture

The x-height is certainly a much more logical reference than cap height (even for German). In the back of my non-Latin mind though I worry about how that might further entrench the imposition of the Latin x-height on other scripts...

hhp

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Too bad that the Berthold system never made it into general use. Hx in mm is so obviously the best way to describe type.

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