Haarlemmer or Spectrum

fredrik.fabrikk's picture

I would very much appreciate some advice on the differences of Haarlemmer and Spectrum by Jan van Krimpen. I've only seen Haarlemmer on print and I think it looks great. But since I only have Spectrum in my font library, I wonder if it's worth buying Haarlemmer or if Spectrum will do the same good. The task intended is a corporate identity (for an organic bakery/café/grocery-store) where quotes will be the main identity element. And what could be a good accompanying sans serif?

I'm also considering Scala and Scala Sans, which perhaps have a more contemporary feel to them. The problem with this family is that they're som much used (especially in Norway). But, then again, the public probably won't be able to tell which font it is.

Other fonts vaguely considered: Hoefler Text/Gotham, Seria/Seria Sans, Dante, Stempel Garamond.

Many thanks!


John Nolan's picture

Haarlemmer is a better digitization, and is much "sturdier" at text sizes than Spectrum. DTL has Haarlemmer Sans as well.

If you're looking at Seria, I'd also look at Nexus.

In general, it's more of a "workhorse" than Seria. It's available in OpenType, has a extremely wide range of styles, including a sans, a "mix", and "typewriter" style.

Since it's an "organic bakery/café/grocery-store", you might want something a bit more organic, so I'd suggest looking at OurType's new "Eva." It's a humanist sans. No serif version, but I don't think it needs one.

While you're at the OurType site (www.ourtype.be), you should also have a look at Fresco: very nice!

fredrik.fabrikk's picture

Thank you very much! Of the two, I find Fresco most interesting, and very interesting indeed. It has both serif and sans. The serif reminds me a little of Underware's Dolly. Perhaps that is a good way to go, as opposed to the more 'stringent' ones…


mondoB's picture

You can't beat Haarlemmer, the finest serif workhorse since Stone Serif. OurType's Eva is a little too funky to go with it, however; I would suggest Linotype Syntax with old style figures, whose book weight is just right (whereas Stone Sans book weight, for instance, is a shade too heavy). For the sans, stay with Syntax-derived faces, not Gill-Sans-derived faces. Come to think of it, Stone Serif and Stone Sans are worth a careful look for your purposes: I've been using them heavily for years, and I couldn't be happier. Just don't forget to use the old style figures for both serif and sans--makes all the difference.

Grot Esqué's picture

What is with you Americans and ITC Stone? What is it that I don’t get?

brampitoyo's picture

To tell you the truth, Grot Esqué, I, a Northwesterner, is as clueless as you are. I just noted that Stone is supposed to be a velvety smooth reading face, but really not much beyond that -- not that I'm experienced with using it.

Anybody care to explain?

mondoB's picture

As I mentioned for G-E on another thread, I've been using Stone and Stone Sans for 15 years in all sorts of jobs as well as my own stationery, and it works beautifully in every conceivable environment, from 9 pt newsletter text to big display effects, especially with its marvelous italics...it is a strong workhorse, not a funky or specialty or period face...the fact that it has not been "discovered" is fine with me, and I can certainly recommend both serif and sans families...

poms's picture

I´ve read two books (released in the late 90s, early 2000) in german language about design/typography topics set in ITC Stone (Serif, Sans). I found the Serif a good, flowing read (copytext set in ca. 9pt). Solid (the italics, too), but not very good looking - maybe it was trendy/common at that time to use Stone instead of Minion, Sabon, etc.?
Apart from the Serif – what i really don't like is Stone Sans Bold, no…

Maybe it would be interesting to have an own thread about the ITC Stone family. But i'm not able to start this one - Stone is still around and there are "haters and lovers"...

brampitoyo's picture

I see,

I'll start looking for some books that are set in Stone (no pun intended) and read it myself.

Regardless, there is no doubt that if a contemporary font family had managed to be used succesfully (and without change in its inherent design, if I remember correctly) for 15 years, it has achieved its objective.

mondoB's picture

Keep in mind we're talking about the rough and tumble of corporate use, where a text face in 9 pt must snap, read, and compete well against much activity and clutter. Other faces I admire more than Stone--Sabon, Janson, Scala, Celeste--would not work at all in this setting, either too delicate or too fussy (or, re Sabon, lacking a well-contrasted bold). If Stone serif regular seems a tad *too* work-horsey, then Haarlemmer looks like a very adaptible alternative.

For corporate use, the line dividing the men from the boys is the line between 9 and 10 point. That line makes a fascinating life-long study for type lovers. Many beautiful faces start working only at 10 pt, but that's not good enough for most corporate work. Stone Serif starts working at 7 pt and, with three well-sculpted weights, perfect oldstyle figures, and lovely natural-feeling italics, it never stops working all the way up.

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