Complementary Serif to Avant Garde?

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Kieran Cullen's picture
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Joined: 5 Jul 2007 - 5:17am
Complementary Serif to Avant Garde?
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Hi,

I'm working on a lifestyle booklet/catalogue for a premium brand and want to introduce a complementary serif for editorial use with their house font, Avant Garde. Would be nice to get a family that can work both as an alternative headline (to AG body) as well as suitable body copy to an AG headline. At the moment they only use Avant Garde in Medium and Book. Tonally, I'm looking to warm up what is currently a very clinical feel, and introduce changes in pace throughout the booklet.

thanks in advance for any comments/suggestions,

K

j's picture
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Joined: 30 Jul 2004 - 1:49pm
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There's always Lubalin Graph.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Joined: 10 Sep 2006 - 6:19pm
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Lubalin Graph is pretty much exactly Avant Garde with slab serifs attached. Still, even with serifs, the geometric monoline look may not be as comfortable for reading as you might want for lengthy runs of text.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Joined: 10 Sep 2006 - 6:19pm
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[[http://www.typotheque.com/fonts/brioni_text|Brioni]] looks like it could handle this task quite well.

Kieran Cullen's picture
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Joined: 5 Jul 2007 - 5:17am
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Most people do suggest Lubalin Graph, but that doesn't help us get away from the harsh geometric feel. Definitely need the warmer curves of a nice serif to balance out the spreads. I'll have a look at Brioni, but there must also be a few classic serifs out there that work well with Avant Garde.

thanks!

Paul Stonier's picture
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Joined: 22 Feb 2008 - 3:22am
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You could try Didone and Cabernet Swash; some other popular ones used by Herb Lubalin.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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In Avant Garde magazine, Lubalin paired it with Times Roman.

Kieran Cullen's picture
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Joined: 5 Jul 2007 - 5:17am
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Thanks guys. Paul, was there a particular Didone you were thinking of? A didone would obviously work great for headlines, but doesn't really suit as alternative body copy against AG headlines. Gonna try Nick's suggestion of using Times. Any other suggestions much appreciated.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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I wasn't suggesting using Times, as I have no idea what your layouts are like.
In the AG magazine, Lubalin's heads were all caps and squared off--justified columns of Times text went well with that.
It's interesting to note that another famous art director/type designer, Neville Brody, used Times as the text face of The Face, again matching justified text columns with squared off heads (in Industria).
Both art directors felt it necessary to become type designers as there were no faces available to fully satisfy the strict geometry of the layouts they wanted to do.

Dan Gayle's picture
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Joined: 17 May 2006 - 7:00pm
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Avant Garde is harshly geometric, but because of that you know what sort of letterforms to look at.

Would I be wrong in thinking that some oldstyle type might work? I've never really thought about it before. I'm thinking an oldstyle O, with very little contrast. Not a spindly oldstyle, and perhaps not too sophisticated in its curves. (It is after all, being matched with Avant Garde...)

There might be too much life in an oldstyle though.

Is there a such thing as a geometric oldstyle? Of course, we have examples like Albers, etc., but oldstyles are typically associated with their humanist touch. What about a geometric oldstyle with less of the humanism and more of the geometry, but without the increases in contrast associated with the move away from humanism and into rationalism and the engraving tool?

Paul Stonier's picture
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Joined: 22 Feb 2008 - 3:22am
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This is the one I was thinking of http://www.fontshop.com/fonts/singles/urw/didoni_normal_ot_std_urw/

But ya, obviously it wouldn't work as a textface. Something like Minion might actually work nicely.

David M Foster's picture
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Joined: 12 Apr 2005 - 1:29am
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Hey guys,

I'm struggling with the same issue and found that archer, while not exactly geometric, has enough personality to complementy but not overwhelm avant garde. It also has a great italic if you need to soften things further. Let me know how you go.

Derek Gulbranson's picture
Joined: 24 Mar 2011 - 5:32pm
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Fedra Serif looks ok

Ryan Fruest's picture
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Joined: 14 Dec 2010 - 11:37pm
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Didot. Like AG, it's elegant and beautiful, but make sure you don't use it at small point sizes. Delegate/relegate that role to the AG.

Andreas Stötzner's picture
Joined: 12 Mar 2007 - 10:21am
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… get away from the harsh geometric feel.

I dare to say your problem is not the pairing with a serif. Your problem is Avant Garde.
Try to get rid of it and it’ll be a new life.

There *are* good sans alternatives which maintain a geometric coolness yet spare you that ‘harsh’ primitivism of AG.