Ideal SANS SERIF fonts for setting body copy?

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Brode Vosloo's picture
Joined: 9 May 2002 - 11:00am
Ideal SANS SERIF fonts for setting body copy?

After reading that Helvetica is primarily considered a display font (in one of the other discussions), I was interested to know what sans serif fonts are considered good for laying out masses of text?

Perhaps something that would have complimentary accompanying numerals for laying out the financials of an annual report.

What are the qualities one should look for when identifying a suitable sans serif text face?

Thanks for a great resource :-)

Richard Wikstrom's picture
Joined: 8 Mar 2002 - 2:35am

Open lettershapes, the “Ill”-combination problem(write that word in helvetica and you’ll know what I mean)…
It should contain a large set of variants

Stephen Coles's picture
Joined: 14 May 2001 - 11:00am

Sorry to veer slightly off-topic here, but I’m
happy to see Brode at the forum. I’ve watched the
Sacred Nipple for some time and it’s nice to have
another experienced fontographer on board.

Welcome, Brode. Shoe Repairs is a wonderful thing
and your newer stuff shows some great potential.
(What’s the “FRESH” font on that page, btw?)


Brode Vosloo's picture
Joined: 9 May 2002 - 11:00am

Geez …thanks! Although ‘experienced’ is hardly a word I’d use to describe myself. Infact if people ask me if I’m a typographer I say ‘no, just a designer who really loves type’.

The hardest thing for me creating type in South Africa is that there is absolutely no one there who I know of that has an expansive knowledge of typography and fontographer. So I’ve pretty much been working in a vacuum. That’s why this Typophile forum is definately the best thing I’ve come across on the net…ever! Props to those concerned…I cling to your every word.

Oh, the “FRESH” font is basically ‘Retoric’, designed by Darren Scott and released by [T.26], that i’ve just given a stencil effect to and tweaked around a bit.

David Thometz's picture
Joined: 15 Mar 2002 - 11:00am

I like FB Scala Sans* best, with its complete family of weights, lining and old-style figures,
and true italics.

AGFA’s new recutting of Syntax* looks
promising as well, but I haven’t had
a chance to try it yet.

Akzidenz Grotesk*, Avenir, Bureau Gothic,
Formata*, Franklin Gothic, Gill Sans, Kabel,
ITC Legacy Sans*, News Gothic, Officina Sans*,
Trade Gothic, Emigre’s Triplex* and even
Frutiger, Helvetica, Myriad and Univers
make my list on occasion.

Also, by all means look into Storm Type Foundry’s
John Sans*, a sanserif based on Baskerville.

Also, the Dutch Type Library offers several that
come highly recommended, including DTL Argo*,
DTL Caspari*, DTL Documenta Sans*,
DTL Haarlemmer Sans* and DTL Nobel.
I haven’t yet been able to get licenses
for any of the DTL faces, but I plan to start
investing in them as soon as I can.
Their reputation is excellent.

I have to admit that I’m intrigued by AGFA’s
new recutting of Futura* as well, with its
full family and the recent addition of
old-style numerals.

I don’t care much for ITC Stone Sans* myself,
but a friend of mine swears by it.

Most of the fonts can be found (or linked to)

I’m sure I’ve left a lot out, but this list
offers a good starting point.

* Indicates fonts that I know offer old-style figures


David Thometz's picture
Joined: 15 Mar 2002 - 11:00am


FF Scala Sans* (Font Font), not FB (which
would be Font Bureau). Sorry about that.

And I forgot to include FF Meta*, another
excellent sanserif with an extensive family.

* Still indicates fonts that I know offer old-style figures


John Butler's picture
Joined: 6 Nov 2001 - 11:00am

Berthold Imago