A good alternative to Myriad?

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Massimo Nardini's picture
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Joined: 20 Jun 2003 - 5:55pm
A good alternative to Myriad?
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Hello, I've often used Myriad for my clients as a title and copy font, because of its 'neutrality' and elegance. The black and light version are incredibly well done, and the regular version fits almost every use. In zen tongue some might say it has a transparent quality.
But it's getting old. I'd like to try out something different. Immediate use would be for the printed things of a school of English in Europe. Any suggestion is welcome.
Thanks!

Robert K.'s picture
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Joined: 30 May 2007 - 5:52pm
+1

Open Sans is one of my favourite fonts lately. It's very well done, not as versatile s Myriad but very beautiful.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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I don't think using what one thinks is a "neutral" font is generally a good idea.

Eric Doctor's picture
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Joined: 16 Jan 2008 - 3:27pm
+1

Source Sans feels a little more contemporary than Myriad. It splits the difference nicely between a humanist and a grotesque.

Michael Byrnes's picture
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Joined: 28 Nov 2012 - 11:13am
+3

Interesting. Without knowing any details of what the client needs/wants, you are prepared to pontificate your subjective opinion? Personally, I would have opted to simply ask questions, such as: (a) what technical capabilities does your client need... meaning, do you need a font which includes built-in superscripts/subscripts/numrs/denoms/smallcaps, etc... (b) is this for more technical copy, informational copy, etc... (c) how diverse of weights do you need (hairline to heavy, or just the basic reg/ital/bold/boldital)? Aren't these types of questions more helpful to the person asking the question, rather than "not a good idea to use a neutral font" straight out of the gun?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
+1

Michael, it's exactly that defaulting to a typeface does not ask such vital questions about a client. And I did not see Massimo mention a client, but simply express the desire to find a new default... Neutrality is illusory, and having a narrow set of fonts for use on whatever project comes one's way is something Vignelli would do. When it comes to grasping the power of typography, that's not a compliment.

Michael Byrnes's picture
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Joined: 28 Nov 2012 - 11:13am
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Hrant, if that is the case, then, why not express your subjective opinions as opinions and not as constructive assistance. Sometimes, people do not even know how to ask the right questions... maybe it is someone who is tapped on the shoulder and told to manage the school publication, and they know little of typography. I have to observe that Vignelli represented a "movement" of thought... although I may have personal disagreements with the school of 10-12 types, as a moral philosopher, I am duty-bound to understand that others may find some element of truth in any school of thought. If you are committed to any specific school of thought, then morally, you have the duty to state the fact that you subscribe to a specific school of thought (I hope you can logically see that to subscribe to any specific school of thought is delusion). Neutrality is a word that means different things to different people. Perhaps the original question referred to a desire to pick a type that did not take the reader's focus away from the text... you would agree that choosing Ayita for a school workhorse type would be a bit over the line, as opposed to a "neutral" workhorse sans such as FF Clan or Secca... in short, we have a collective responsibility to "listen" rather than show others how much we think we know...

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
+1

I do believe in listening and communicating. I was trying to be succinct, but maybe it came off as too dismissive. A "default" typeface choice is just such a common and damaging trait among many designers that it's hard for me to remain tentative about combating it. Although I don't believe in subscribing to a formal school of thought, I can say that every font says something, and there are so many fonts out there it's almost guaranteed that something like Myriad (especially something so over-used) will not be the best choice. For anybody who can't justify the expense of getting just the right font for a project, that's an understandable compromise that nonetheless should be admitted as such.

Your definition of "neutral" is pretty much mine as well, but it simply varies too much with time and among people to be anything more than a misleading dream. When it comes to the power of type, Vignelli simply did not grasp it. It's almost like he was an artist who didn't want to give credit to the quietly ever-present type designers; to me trying to remove a typeface's particular voice from a typographic composition is irrational.

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
+1

I was trying to be succinct, but maybe it came off as too dismissive.

Frequently. :)

I interpret the term neutral as 'suitable for a wide range of purposes'. It's not that a neutral typeface communicates neutrality, but that it doesn't communicate anything overly specific, and so can be used in a lot of different contexts without fear of it being stylistically at odds with the content or the context. There are lots of situations in which this sort of neutrality is desirable — more so today, when type is used to display dynamic content coming from online feeds, messaging, etc. —, and having a go-to neutral typeface isn't a bad thing for a typographer to have on hand, any more than having more strongly voiced typefaces for specific purposes. The point of having a go-to typeface in any style is that one is familiar with how to use it, which is a virtue often overlooked in typography today.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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That is well-stated.

> Frequently. :)

We all need to adapt. :-Þ

Sean King's picture
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Joined: 21 Jul 2005 - 10:21pm
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I like the Verb family a lot, and it seems to fit the same humanist & neutral niche as Myriad. I really like that it has 4 widths.

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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FF Milo
FF Kievit
Seravek
JAF Bernini Sans
Fresco Sans (Maybe a bit flavourful, but I’ve gotten a lot of milage out of this one. Exquisite design!)

Thomas Phinney's picture
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Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
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Funny, I don't think of Verb as *at all* neutral. Not that I dislike it, but it is *much* more flavorful than Myriad, to me.

Claudio Piccinini's picture
Joined: 11 Jan 2003 - 9:32am
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Hi Massimo,
how about MPlus? The spacing and kerning might not as be as fine-tuned and "professional" as Myriad, but I liked them a lot (although I have not used the family yet):
https://mplus-fonts.osdn.jp/about-en.html
And they are under a free license. The last version is mplus-TESTFLIGHT-062
downloadable here: https://osdn.net/projects/mplus-fonts/releases/62344