Haas Unica research

Corey Holms's picture

Hello all.

I am doing some research on the typeface Haas Unica and was wondering if anyone here might have some information on it.

Currently what I have is basic information about Team 77, and the typeface's inception there. Followed by it being digitized by Scangraphic, but not how the rights were acquired or any of that info. Then I get to E+F buying the Scangraphic catalog, but due to legal issues, Haas Unica is no longer distributed.

If anyone can fill in the sketchy details I have above, I would really appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

lettertiep's picture

you can find some more here, but Hrants link for buying the font is dead.

http://typophile.com/node/4840

Corey Holms's picture

thank you

Corey Holms's picture

So after a little more digging, I have run into a bit of a snag. Two reputable sources have given me conflicting reports.

I originally heard that it was Scangraphic who digitized and released the typeface, and when E+F bought their catalog, E+F ran into some legal problems that have lead to the typeface being discontinued. Then from another source, I have heard that URW digitized it (but never released it) only to have it distributed by The Font Company, with no explanation to why it is no longer available.

Does anyone know the correct story?

hrant's picture

I love Unica, and am highly miffed that it's no longer on the market.
I haven't gone to the trouble of figuring out the sordid legal details as
to why this has happened, but I can help you on the typographic front:
1) I can mail you a copy of a uniquely detailed
booklet outlining the development of Unica.
2) I can put you in touch with Andre Gurtler.

BTW Corey, since you're in the area you might be interested in
signing up for my type design class at ArtCenter next semester.
Previously: http://typophile.com/node/15756

hhp

Corey Holms's picture

WOW!!!

Thank you so much Hrant - I will email you offline to get more info on all three things. Thanks SO much.

Corey Holms's picture

So, a little further digging has revealed that there were TWO digital versions - one by Scangraphic and another by Font Company. Both were copyrighted in 1990.

hrant's picture

Huh.
1) Which was the one that was being sold? (Both?)
2) Which one is better?

hhp

Corey Holms's picture

My understanding is that both were commercially available. I do not know the difference between the two though.

twardoch's picture

Scangraphic, URW and Elsner+Flake are all based in Hamburg and frequently collaborated and exchanged data. They all worked in Ikarus. Given the vast amount of typefaces that needed to be digitized in the early 1990s, I kind of doubt that these companies produced two separate digital versions from scratch. It's more likely that the same Ikarus data was used but perhaps converted separately into the Type 1 format.

A.

Corey Holms's picture

Very interesting twardoch, thanks for filling in the gaps.

Michael Hernan's picture

I called Elsner+Flake to see if I could buy font/get a Licence. They said that it was not available due to a naming copyright issue. (big shame)

I was looking to buy it in the mid 90's but was put off by the (what I thought was an irregular) Cap R. More recently I have rediscovered the font and its power is strong. So much so I decided to redraw Light lowercase for a logotype I am working on. Because I drew up 16 letters, I thought I would go the whole way. This was good as it makes to re-look at the work you have already done.

My feeling is that it embodies "form is function" absolutly - and this is its beauty.

You can see my effort here:
with a couple of interesting links regarding André Gürtler and rasterizing/beziers.

Unica Deux Light Lowercase

hernan

Michael Hernan's picture

With regards to versions - there WERE 2 versions by Scangraphic 1 for body text and one for headlines which was kerned really close. (I dont know if there were any other modificartions)

SB = Scangraphic Body
SH = Scangraphic Headline

hernan

garden's picture

Looks outstanding. Anything changed? Haas unica avaliable for download / buy?
_____________________________________________
-
golden ratio of passion. sansogno.coastaldisturbance.com

sangwooksohn's picture

You can still purchase Scangraphic's version of Hass Unica from following site:

http://www.graphicobsession.fr/index.jsp?url=http%3A//www.graphicobsessi...

Only SB versions are available for sale, no SH versions though.

hrant's picture

Awesome news!

Guys, buy this immediately before somebody sends some lawyers or something.

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

I would rather own a copy of the promo doc that explains the innovations.

hrant's picture

You mean copy as in photocopy?

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

Sure!

Absolutely.

Or even PDF.

Not that I don't see the value of comparing outlines directly in ana editor but it's the ideas themselves that count for me!

hrant's picture

The idea behing Unica isn't revolutionary - it's simply to make a better Helvetica. The documentation of the process is what's pretty unique. Which is not to say the font is pointless: it's the perfect thing for weening people of Helvetica.

hhp

sangwooksohn's picture

I have found a place where I can purchase both SB and SH families of Hass Unica typefaces from Scangraphic, but the price is too expensive for me. :(
39.50 Euro for each font!! 16 styles=632 Euro
Not that they do not worth 39.50 Euro each, but it's just way out of my reach.

sigh...

hrant's picture

Where's the source?

You might tell me in private, and then I can pass it along to
whoever asks for it (as long as I don't suspect they're a mole).

hpapazian_at_gmail_dot_com

hhp

Guy's picture

The link above seems to have both the SB and SH versions?

ebensorkin's picture

Yes. I see both now too. Just put 'Unica' in the search.

ebensorkin's picture

I got a copy of the Haas Unica promotional piece* and I have to admit it is pretty outragously compelling stuff. Unica is an amazing improvement on Helvetica. The next step for me is to look at Haas Unica vs. Univers...

* Thank you Hrant!

sangwooksohn's picture

Eben, could you give me little more details on Haas Unica promotional piece? I wonder what that is. :)

ebensorkin's picture

Hrant sent it to me. It is a piece made by Haas to promote their ( then ) new type. I have not seen the original- just the photocopies. It's maybe 14 pages long ( 7 pages front to back ). The part that I was pleased with was the parts where they detail the changes made & charcterize their thinking. The transparency of that is wonderful. Also, when you look at the Haas Helvitica vs. The Unica the difference is quite something. What would be great is to look at Regular & Neu vs. Unica. But tjis may not be helping... What kinds of details do you want to know?

sangwooksohn's picture

Eben,

Thanks for the information. You've given me enough details. :)

clauses's picture

Eben/Hrant can you post that promotion piece here as a PDF? It sounds very intriguing.

hrant's picture

I think making it public in its whole would be beyond Fair Use.

hhp

William Berkson's picture

Hrant, if it was a *promotional* piece I think that would argue ethically that there is no problem disseminating it. This was not an item for sale, and its dissemination would tend to benefit whoever holds the rights to Haas Unica. However, I don't know what the legal situation is.

hrant's picture

Well, the booklet is sort of a promotional piece (in an academic, not commercial way) but it's also an extract from a Typografische Monatsblätter article, or maybe even the whole article... In cases like this I'd rather err on the side of caution.

hhp

clauses's picture

Okay, fair enough. Can you give the info on where and when it was published? They might have it at the Typographic Library here in Amsterdam.

ebensorkin's picture

Update: The full promotional piece is here

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bauldoff/2389151563/

ybaggar's picture

Is the font still unavailable? No way to get it through special ways?

ebensorkin's picture

As far as I know it is sill unavailable. What "special ways" did you have in mind?

ybaggar's picture

Like somebody who could resell it further even if it's not available online, or somebody giving it since there is no way to pay for it.
It's very sad that an interesting typeface like this can't be avaiblable for some legal issues or don't exactly know what. It's not like ripping somebody off. Anyway, even if it's not for sale anywhere, some people have it, that is a very strange situation.

Edit: I realise how my english sucks. But i think people get the point.

ebensorkin's picture

It is like ripping someone off if you simply take it or trade it while the people that own the font's IP don't want to sell it or give it away. I think that's their right, and the courts would back that up.

If anybody offers to give it away on typophile, we will block that link and potentially take stronger action as well.

Even though it was a great font ( i think ) there is certainly no shortage of good sans fonts to pick from now so I think you can't really say you NEED it. You would like to have it. There is a difference.

If you want to learn from it however, the files I have linked to will help with that.

jupiterboy's picture

Which brings up the question, what do you do with a font that you purchase legally that comes into a legal conflict after the fact and then is taken off the market? What do you do with a client that is using that font?

ebensorkin's picture

That's a good question. I would have hard time 'punishing' a client who had legally bought the font. You could always contact the foundry in question if you had an idea they had been wronged by the seller - that would be the big thing to do. A middle path might be to ask to extend the license from the legit owners of the IP when & if you needed additional licenses. The policy for extending an existing license might be different than a new purchase. But yes, it's a bit grey.

jupiterboy's picture

Thanks for hazarding a guess. In my case the digital font's creator, I suspect, was contacted by the creator of the original pre-digital type and the font was taken off the market because of some conflict or misunderstanding. I had used the font in an identity—before it was removed from the market. It was for a friend, and is a rather small business. I’ve been thinking about it though. Not only have I sold an identity and several rounds of printed matter, I could possibly have put my client in a legal situation, and in turn myself in regards to the foundry that digitized and sold the font.

A not so funny turn on the usual font piracy issue. Maybe I should hike my prices on other jobs to compensate for the potential legal liability until the selling foundry clears its legal claim to the face and puts it on the market again. I’m sort of laughing as I type…

Uli's picture

The schizophrenic behaviour of many American Typophiles concerning the US Copyright Law is highly interesting from the psychiatric point of view:

Although the monograph "From Helvetica to Haas Unica" written by Schwind et al. is a literary work protected as per section § 102 (a) (1) of the US Copyright Law, Mr. Eben Sorkin did not hesitate to specify the download link to this work offered by Joe Bauldoff by way of copyright infringement.

However, when someone asked for the Haas Unica font via download link, the very same Mr. Sorkin said:

"If anybody offers to give it away on typophile, we will block that link and potentially take stronger action as well."

This behaviour is schizophrenic.

jupiterboy's picture

Schizophrenia, as a condition that could be "diagnosed by a professional", is a problematic term. The fact that humans contradict themselves could be a condemnation of the entire species as mentally ill, or being of two minds could actually be an evolutionary benefit. This is pure speculation.

The fact that we, on this forum, focus on copyright law in regards to font creation is more of a proximity bias I would suggest. For the group, copyright law in regards to images and written word IS more lightly policed.

Any Adobe Formata users out there?

andyclymer's picture

Out of curiosity I was able to pick up a license for a couple weights from that Graphic Obsession link above (from sangwooksohn on May 1, 2007) which now seems to be dead, but I'm really put off by how poor the digitization is...this font is definitely looking for a bit of a restoration if it's ever able to be properly released again.

ybaggar's picture

"It is like ripping someone off if you simply take it or trade it while the people that own the font’s IP don’t want to sell it or give it away. I think that’s their right, and the courts would back that up."

Yes of course. What I meant was, the goal is not to steal a font. I would not do it, the goal was to see if there was a way to get the font legally. I don't know what is going on with this font (why it is not available now). I was hoping that maybe it was not a law issue regarding the files, so that i could get it directly from the owners or any reseller (legally).
Of course i don't really need it. Did I say that? It would be just cool to have it. As a swiss graphic designer I must say i has more interest in this font than in a lot of other "grotesk" fonts on the market now. Even if there is a lot of choice, i think there isn't that many really interesting alternatives to fonts like helvetica (not that i use it that often) that have the same power in the design. My 2c.

ebensorkin's picture

I see . Yes, If I was working in a swiss style the appeal of a real Haas Unica would be really really powerful. That makes abundant sense. I would like to be able to buy it or even revive it. But it isn't possible as far as I can see. In any event if I was to harsh with you I am sorry. Are you Thibaud Tissot or Yassin Baggar BTW?

As to the IP comments: Not only is the use of "schizophrenic" woefully imprecise - the reasoning about the IP issues is as well.

The font is a thing for sale - or was. that is one kind of thing.

Promotional materials that had been made public; and that are being used - not to be resold - for academic/didactic or even autodidactic purposes are clearly another. If I published a book and included the images and made a profit or was attempting to; a line would be being crossed. If I was charging to see the images on a CDR the same would be true, or online or in any other media.

definitely looking for a bit of a restoration
Andy, that is sad news indeed.

ybaggar's picture

No problem, i know how my message could be confusing...
I'm Yassin.

Uli's picture

Eben Sorkin:

The font is a thing for sale - or was. that is one kind of thing. Promotional materials that had been made public; and that are being used - not to be resold - for academic/didactic or even autodidactic purposes are clearly another. If I published a book and included the images and made a profit or was attempting to; a line would be being crossed. If I was charging to see the images on a CDR the same would be true, or online or in any other media.

If you were able to read the US Copyright Law, you would discover that the law does not speak of "thing for sale", of "promotional materials", etc. If your schizophrenic reasoning would reflect the US Copyright Law, then the literary works of non-for-profit (e.g. religious etc.) organisations, which are distributed free of charge, would not be protected by copyright.

Hrant Papazian was the only person at this Typophile site who was able to recognize that offering for download the monograph “From Helvetica to Haas Unica” in its whole without permission by the authors is illegal and constitutes a copyright infringement. Mr. Papazian wrote (see above):

"I think making it public in its whole would be beyond Fair Use."

William Berkson's picture

Uli, have you examined the 'fair use' doctrine, a part of the US legal code?

"Notwithstanding the provisions ... the fair use of a copyrighted work... for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."

Because this work was a short promotional piece, never made for sale [reason 1] and because its dissemination can only help sell Haas Unica, if it is ever revived [reason 4], and because this posting is not for sale but for educational purposes, there is a solid case for it being "fair use".

I don't know how a court would rule--and it will never be an issue--but your name-calling is not called for.

Uli's picture

Mr. Berkson:

"Uli, have you examined the ’fair use’ doctrine, a part of the US legal code?"

Yes, I did.

I reread the US copyright Law sections quoted by you (and also checked other legal sources), and I came to the conclusion that Mr. Joe Bauldoff (NOT Mr. Sorkin, of course, as Mr. Sorkin only made the link to Bauldoff's flickr site) committed a copyright infringement.

1)

Mr. Bauldoff, who uploaded the copyrighted monograph, gave the following explanation here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bauldoff/sets/72157604393470536/

"After holding onto this report for some time, I feel it should be available to everyone. I am no typographer, but this accomplishment and the methodical thought that went into it fascinates me."

This is Mr. Joe Bauldoff's excuse for uploading a copyrighted work. Obviously, this excuse is neither criticism, nor comment, nor news reporting, nor teaching, nor scholarship, nor research, as specified by section § 107 of the US Copyright Law, and hence his upload of the copyrighted literary work was no fair use, but an unfair copyright infringement.

Those who downloaded the copyrighted monograph offered by Mr. Bauldoff, made short comments such as these:

"Thanks for sharing!"

"Thanks for uploading this, Bauldoff."

Such notes are neither criticism, nor comment, nor news reporting, nor teaching, nor scholarship, etc. etc., and hence such "thanks" comments do not legalize the illegal upload made by Mr. Bauldoff.

2)

If uploading an entire copyrighted work for download would be fair use, then uploading the Haas Unica font itself for download would be fair use too.

For instance, at a Russian website (I do not mention the link, because Mr. Sorkin would remove it), I have just read:

Question: "Does anyone have Haas Unica? It used to be available from Scangraphic (pre 2004), but it is no longer. Thanks."

Reply: "Here is Haas Unica (original, 8 weights, Type1)"

The uploader could have added the same explanation, as was given by Mr. Bauldoff, after replacing the word "report" by the word "font":

"After holding onto this font for some time, I feel it should be available to everyone. I am no typographer, but this accomplishment and the methodical thought that went into it fascinates me."

ebensorkin's picture

Cheers Yassin!

Uli, if you want to ask the owners if they think it's "fair use" or not to share images of what is an advertisement - go ahead. I would be interested in their take. It is possible that Hrant's idea about it is right. Maybe I am missing something. But in the meantime look into "fair use". Admittedly it is something which is still quite fuzzy legally speaking and may take some time to understand. But as Bill points out it really does seem to cover this instance very very well.

Also, please look up “schizophrenic”. The popular use of the word to mean "of two or more minds or personalities" is misleading. Further using it as an Epithet is also marginalizing for people who suffer from it and doesn't help people to understand the illness or to treat it properly.

Syndicate content Syndicate content