Suggestions for an officious pair?

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The Don Killuminati's picture
Joined: 9 Jan 2008 - 12:03pm
Suggestions for an officious pair?
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I'm laying out a booklet, the purpose of which is to present information in a tone that is ponderous, pedantic and authoritative. Reading it should be like listening to an overbearing, low-level city official explaining some unavoidable bureaucratic procedure. The content is self-important, without soul, and the presentation needs to have a sort of conniving and vaguely menacing feel to it. The look aims to be clean, organized, reserved and pleasant, but in a way that is also dictatorial and intimidating.

In searching for a sans serif and serif pair to handle the headers, body, footnotes, &c., I've been using Scala and Chronicle; they have a nice presence, but feel that there is still too much personality in there, so I'm looking for alternatives. Any suggestions?

Blank's picture
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Joined: 25 Sep 2006 - 2:15pm
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Reading it should be like listening to an overbearing, low-level city official explaining some unavoidable bureaucratic procedure.

Arial and Time New Roman set entirely at 12 points with the smallest possible margins.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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Verdana and Georgia.

The Don Killuminati's picture
Joined: 9 Jan 2008 - 12:03pm
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No kidding! Something that painful really would be appropriate. This is sort of a tough call because it really does need to be sharp and professional — like a uniform, it needs the impersonal theatricality of power. Minion seems suitably dry and works well with Franklin Gothic, but it still feels sort of "likable."

The Don Killuminati's picture
Joined: 9 Jan 2008 - 12:03pm
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Thanks, Nick. I was just looking at Myriad and Georgia and hadn't thought of Verdana.

K Cerulean Pease's picture
Joined: 19 Oct 2003 - 5:03pm
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A good way to get this effect is to use all sans for text. It mimics the choices of a bureaucrat who thinks that simplicity is clarity and that regular people are too stupid to read serifs. And, of course, it should feel a bit dated: Futura is a popular choice for this sort of thing.

The Don Killuminati's picture
Joined: 9 Jan 2008 - 12:03pm
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I've been duplicating and resetting the style sheets for this and the all-futura look definitely makes for a pretty severe read. This is about 50 text-heavy pages so that gets to be a lot. Thanks much, I'm saving it for an option for sure.

Jan Schmoeger's picture
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Joined: 12 Dec 2008 - 5:39am
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Utopia

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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Whatever font you choose, consider using a slightly heavier weight than you'd normally pick, justified, and long line lengths with narrow margins.

The Don Killuminati's picture
Joined: 9 Jan 2008 - 12:03pm
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Thanks for that. And Utopia and News Gothic are pretty arid. It seems that the more time I spend with this the more difficult it becomes — I'm working for something that looks really good but is entirely bloodless. Which is hard to do without making it ugly. The heavier weight and longer line lengths do effectively feel a bit pompous and insensitive but actually reading long passages then becomes genuinely straining. So I don't know. Perhaps the objective is a pair that dresses up very nicely at a glance but whose banality becomes more apparent the more time you spend with it.