The Concept of Stripping Down the Serifs?

Fournier's picture

Do you know who is the first designer which used to strip down a traditional serif typeface? I know a contemporary example: František Štorm removes the serifs of the XVII th century Jannon Roman.
Jannon Antiqua
http://www.stormtype.com/family-jannon.html
Jannon Sans
http://www.stormtype.com/family-jannon-sans.html

Nick Shinn's picture

Britannic (Wagner & Schmidt, 1901)

Fournier's picture

Can you elaborate on Britannic and its 'core' reference?
Thanks in advance.

Mark Simonson's picture

Clearface/Clearface Gothic, by M. F. Benton?

Vladimir Tamari's picture

The way you phrased your question is interesting - "stripping down the serifs" sounds as if one is peeling some vegetable to get rid of some rough texture or hard parts. I think the process with which a traditional type or script turns into a san-serif is fascinating and has occurred in almost all the scripts I have encountered - Arabic, Japanese, Thai, etc etc. In Japanese for example the brush-strokes which have thick and thin could be made mono-width, and the stroke endings which often twist into a tiny this edge are neglected. More than just stripping extra detail, san-serif as it has become to be used means finding the generic essential shape of the letter of a script and presenting it free of the traditional marks left by tools such as a chisel, bamboo pen, quill or brush. I have tried to do that for Arabic 50 years ago and am just now finishing the font!

Fournier's picture

I wonder if a designer ever tried to strip down the serifs of the traditional era typefaces?
Turn Jenson, Garamond, Kis, Caslon, Fournier, Baskerville, Didot naked and 'sans' and with a satisfying result from readability and design perspectives.
Imagine this superfamily package:
Garamond, Garamond Semi Serif, Garamond Sans, Garamond Semi Sans.
If only Slimbach could do the task.

nina's picture

Well, Martin Majoor has done this type of work. He has written about his particular approach to deriving sans from serif designs on his website: http://www.martinmajoor.com/6_my_philosophy.html

IIRC Syntax was one of the first, if not the first, published sans-serif directly derived from a Renaissance [serif, text] design. There’s also the (unpublished) sans that Van Krimpen made to match his Romulus in the 1930s.

eliason's picture

Syntax was *directly* derived from a Renaissance design? Which one?

nina's picture

Um, no, sorry, should have said “model” not design. Not that I’d know of, at least.

Fournier's picture

"Meier described Syntax as being a sans-serif face modeled on the Renaissance serif typeface, similar to Bembo. The uppercase has a wide proportion, and the terminals not being parallel to the baseline provide a sense of animation. The lowercase a and g follow the old style model of having two storeys. The italics are a combination of humanist italic forms, seen in the lowercase italic q, and realist obliques, seen in the lowercase italic a, which retains two storeys, unlike in other humanist sans-serif typefaces like FF Scala Sans and Gill Sans, where the a has a single storey italic."

Vladimir Tamari's picture

And since everything seems to be valid in typography these days, why not add serifs to original sans-serifs ? ;)

Fournier's picture

Designer Jason Vandenberg fashioned a Bodoni Sans Serif.

Bodoni Sans (2014)

http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/greyscale-type/bodoni-sans/

¶ Modern typefaces, such as Bodoni and Didot have been the quintessential faces of fashion for nearly two centuries. With high contrast, flat serifs, and horizontal stress, this combination exudes confidence and elegance.

¶ Today, Sans-Serif typefaces have become the new standard for the description of modern. Clean lines, extremely thin weights, and rational forms are common in fashion and design today. With this in mind, are Modern typefaces like Bodoni still the standard? Yves Saint Laurent said: “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” Is there a way to move Bodoni forward, while maintaining the inherent style?

¶ Bodoni Sans moves forward by removing the serifs, while maintaining the high contrast and elegant curves. Although, these fonts are more than just chopping off the serifs. Several cuts of Bodoni were compared, and collectively used as a base. The classical proportions of the capitals and x-heights were maintained, but the letterforms were rebalanced for use without serifs. Contemporary modifications were made to some widths, as well as an all new Light weight was created. The letterforms were also engineered with a reductive bezier point method, for optimal performance. Together these updates to the classic provide a truly modern look.

¶ High contrast is the key feature of Bodoni Sans. To maintain this contrast over a wide range of sizes, three optical sizes were drawn: Standard, Display and Text. Contrast adjustments were made for each optical size for optimal performance. The Standard was designed for the mid range of 12 to 60pt, Display for 48pt and above, and Text for 6 to 12pt.

¶ Web/Digital use was also considered while developing Bodoni Sans. The fonts were tested as web formats, and examined on a variety of screens, to ensure seamless use in both print and digital applications.

¶ Bodoni Sans is a new classic built on the foundation of two centuries of history. Fresh and contemporary, while feeling familiar. Stylish and sophisticated, Bodoni Sans is a new Modern.

Mark Simonson's picture

Pretty nice and interesting, but I can't get past that back-leaning /S and /s.

quadibloc's picture

@Vladimir Tamari:
And since everything seems to be valid in typography these days, why not add serifs to original sans-serifs ? ;)

But we already have Stymie and Memphis and Cairo... what could we get from adding serifs to a sans-serif that would be much different from that?

Of course, I suppose we could add serifs to a face like Radiant...

Fournier's picture

Bodoni Sans make me think of Peignot because of the contrast. Anyway, they are different.

quadibloc's picture

Oh, of course. Adding serifs to Radiant would not give you Bodoni.

Vladimir Tamari's picture

@quadibloc
...it was just an idea from my ever-inventive mind. But of course there is nothing new under the sun, and I never cease to be amazed at the arcane knowledge of fonts you and many here have!

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