Franklin Gothic vs Akzidenz Grotesk, Hypatia Sans, Whitman & Foundries

Hi there,
I hope some of you might be able to help me. I have read so far most of the related discussions related to what I am asking here, so I hope it is not a repetition of some already asked questions.

1. I am asking myself if there is any difference in quality between the Franklin Gothic Fonts by URW Foundry and ITC. The former you can get rather for a low price and the latter for the standard prize. After having bought some basic professional fonts, I can only invest in one more Gothic font and if the quality of the URW Fonts are not much of a difference to the ITC Fonts, I could afford also the compressed and extra compressed fonts. However, if the quality is too low, than for me it would be better to have few good quality fonts than a lot of low quality fonts. (I am no professional but have to do with some minor publications (and websites which sometimes require texts (PDF Files)), and I want to set these texts with quality fonts.

2. I am looking for companions for Whitman—a very nice typeface which I bought based mainly on the specimen made by the designer and the discussion here. (Initially I had in mind to buy either Arno or Warnock.) As far as I can see Franklin Gothic and Benton Sans are recommended companions, there was one argument that Verlag might be compatible but no real recommendation to use it. Are there any other combinations which could work with Whitman except those three? What about Gotham or Akzidenz Grotesk? I was thinking it might be better to buy Akzidenz Grotesk instead of Franklin Gothic but if it could not combined with Whitman it would reduce my desire to buy it. On the other hand AG is so much praised, if it is by far better than Franklin Gothic, this would again increase my wish to buy AG. I am doubting what is the right choice...

3. Do you have any recommendation with what fonts Hypatia Sans could be paired? It is a very nice typeface but appears so unique that it is hard for me to be sure with what serif or sans fonts it could be combined. Any suggestions?

Thanks a lot for your input,

oldnick's picture

1. As a general (but not invariable) rule, the ITC revivals of older faces had increased x-heights, so they were not "faithful" reproductions of the originals, which you may or may not give a rat's patootie about. However, overall quality of ITC and URW fonts is comparable.

Nick Shinn's picture

I think you should look at some of the more recent sans typefaces from the new foundries, which are in OpenType format and have copious features such as alternate figure styles and small caps. Alright Sans, for instance, is a great value.

My Sensibility would pair well with Whitman.

Stephen Coles's picture

There are not many hard and fast rules for combining type. Nearly anything can work together in the right context. The most important consideration is the project at hand. What is the subject matter? What is your voice? Who is your audience?

nina's picture

What Stephen said. I've personally paired Whitman with sansserifs as varied as Bureau Grot and Fedra Sans; it's a fascinating, multi-faceted typeface, and different pairings can also bring out different ones of its aspects / character traits. So if you can tell us more about where you're trying to take this, that'd help.

As for Franklin, the ITC version (assuming we're talking about the rather new one also available from Font Bureau) is actually not as bloated in the x-height region as many ITC fonts are, and I must say I wouldn't know any reason to not recommend it.

mick.jaeck's picture

Thank your very much so far for your time and advice. I will check Alright Sans—which came to my attention already but I didn't investigate this font closer. I will also check Sensibility.

The audience is usually in the context of either religious texts or academic analysis in the context of religion. There is no business behind it all is done or given for free, but this should be no excuse to not setting the texts as best as possible. At the moment I am working on a prayer book. Sometimes the text is an academic analysis or a summery of a specific tricky topic which might be interesting for a broader public to be read.

So far with respect to the subject matter and audience. It should be good enough for academics/researcher and religious people and the fonts should support the credit or quality the texts are felt to possess. In future a project like a small magazine might be an option too.

When Sanskrit Fonts are needed I found a solution. There is a nice Palatino Font which is offered for free:

In one context I combined Whitman with Avenir and Benton Sans which appeared to be a good choice. The Franklin/AG question is rather if there is one font to be taken for future purposes which font would be the better choice or if Franklin from URW is similar good in quality than ITC or FB's / Adobe's version of it.

The Alright Sans Font font seems to be quite what I think I could use very much in the contexts I work and for future projects. Franklin and AG were options so far rather because they are classics, and Franklin was suggested to be used with Whitman; but now having had a closer look on Alright Sans, this font appears to be more suited and also more warm to my eye than AG or Franklin.

Nick Shinn's picture

If you are doing academic analysis, you will probably be setting reference numbers, so you should be using proper superior figures, not faux.

Is your layout application InDesign or Quark, which support OpenType features?

(Alright Sans has superior figures, Sensibility doesn't.)

mick.jaeck's picture

Exactly Nick, thanks a lot. I need reference numbers and proper superior figures. Alright Sans has them. This font looks also more "human" to me than AG or Franklin. I assume both latter fonts have superior figures too, havne't they?

My tendency goes now really to Alright Sans. I work mainly with Apple's Pages but if required I would shift to InDesign. For the time being pages does what I need.

Stephen Coles's picture

For some beautiful examples of religious texts, check out the work of 2 Krogh.

Nick Shinn's picture

I assume both latter fonts have superior figures too, havne't they?

I wouldn't make such assumptions, but would check them out.
The "Glyphs" feature at MyFonts lets you see, rather than relying on an icon.
And of course, there should be PDF specimens available.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Funny, recently 2 Krogh actually set a whole large-print Bible in Hypatia Sans: I was surprised by how well it worked. I think Hypatia is a great choice for religious material, actually.

As for what Hypatia Sans goes with, I agree that it depends on context. I probably wouldn't pair it with a serif body face that was too aggressively modern (Bodoni, Walbaum, Melior). But other than that, it's fairly flexible. I think it tends to go well with oldstyle typefaces and have used it with Arno several times.



kentlew's picture

Mick —

For discussion about other sans serif complements for Whitman not already mentioned, see this comment from years ago (perhaps you already saw it?):

I’m all for mixing and matching and seeing what you can bring out in faces (as Nina so eloquently expressed above). I will say, however, I can’t really imagine AG working so well with Whitman. But that’s probably my personal dislike.

FWIW, I have designed proper superiors, inferiors, fractions, et al., for Whitman Roman (some years ago), including a full set of l.c. alphabetic sups/ordn/sinfs as well, but I don’t know if/when this will ever be ready for retail. Contact me offline, if you want to discuss an individual arrangement.

And for Devanāgarī, you might take a look at Dan Reynolds’s Malabar Devanāgarī (although, I’m not sure this component has been released . . . Dan?). I think it would be stylistically compatible with Whitman, although there might be challenges matching color and metrics, since the Malabar Latin is overall darker and larger.

— Kent.

kentlew's picture

One more thing. As an update to that 2004 post I linked above:

The Knot magazine now pairs Whitman with Kievit, and it works as nicely as I had anticipated back then.

And Women’s Health magazine currently combines Whitman with Gotham and Sentinel for their primary palette.

I think Avenir might work even nicer than Gotham, if intended to mix inline, since the vertical proportions are more sympathetic. I’d swear I’ve seen that combo somewhere, but can’t think of an instance offhand.

mick.jaeck's picture

Thank you all for your excellent advice and information! It is really amazing for me to see how supportive you are and I am also impressed that — as far as I recognized — three font designers gave their time and advice too. Thank you very much!

This helps me a lot and I think my questions have been solved.

Kent, I wasn't aware of that thread and its good that you linked it here. It gave me further details which are good to know for me—e.g. Nick Shinn's Brown Gothic. I will contact you offline. Though Malabar by Dan Reynolds can be purchased by LT it appears to me that Malabar Devanāgarī is not available yet. I checked the codetable of Malabar but it does not include e.g. the d with the dot below it, which I need for Sanskrit.

Thank you also Thomas, Nick, Stephen, oldnick and Nina. This is all helpful input which helps me very much to sort out the questions I had.

mick.jaeck's picture

"I think Avenir might work even nicer than Gotham, if intended to mix inline, since the vertical proportions are more sympathetic. I’d swear I’ve seen that combo somewhere, but can’t think of an instance offhand."

Yes, Avenir and Whitman are a nice combo, and I found that on your website: "The Natural Knitter (Potter Craft, 2007) combines Whitman with Avenir..." ;-)

mick.jaeck's picture

FF Kievit is very nice but seems not to have superiors (but superscript) as far as I got it from the extended spicemens book.

kentlew's picture

> Yes, Avenir and Whitman are a nice combo, and I found that on your website:

Hah! Well, how about that. There you go.

dezcom's picture

Kent's Whitman has a real "assortment" of goodies, enough to meet the tastes of any academic palette--just don't pinch them and put them back in the box :-)

mick.jaeck's picture

Another question came up which I couldn't clarify reading some articles about it:

Does Apple's Pages fully support the use of all the features OpenType Fonts have to offer? Until now I used pages and the cmd+T option from MacOSX 10.6.5 to get access to the different stylesets of Hypatia Sans for instance. Now I am wondering if this way is too limited and finally maybe even too complicated to take full advantage of the OTF features and if it were better to buy InDesign or QuarkExpress.

What I could find out is that Mellel is a word processor which allows to take full advantage of OTF but has its own limitations too. However, this might be an option in case Pages is too limited. What do you think?

Your advice is highly welcomed. (I worked so far mainly in the domain of websites, posters and flyers, so I am not used to set long texts, hence InDesign or QuarkExpress haven't come to my attention so far.)

Thank you for your input and patience!

dezcom's picture

If you really want to use what is in an opentype font, you need InD. I have not used Quark in 7 years and never will again so I have no idea what it is like today.

SciTechEngMath's picture

Pages does support some OpenType features, but I don't see a way to get to, for example, proper superior figures, and I couldn't get contextual fractions to work properly when I tried it just now. Your best bet for getting the most out of OTF is to make the jump to InDesign, I suspect.

You probably already found this, but in the attached screenshot, I used cmd-T to bring up the "fonts" window, then clicked the little gear menu at the bottom and selected "Typography..." to bring up the "Typography" window seen on the left.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

If you don't mind this self-promotion, you could also take a look at my Tee Franklin:

kentlew's picture

That Pages screenshot shows that it should support the most common typographic OT layout features. Certainly seems adequate to me, on the face of it. Can’t vouch for the implementation, since I don’t have the software.

It is interesting to me to see that the {cpsp} is independently selected, as opposed to being activated by all-caps formatting.

SciTech — If you highlight a figure and select Vertical Position: Superiors/Superscript, I would expect you to get a proper reference superior. Note, however, that in Garamond Premier Pro, the superscripted alphabetic glyphs are positioned in what I would call ordinal position, not reference superior.

Can’t say why you wouldn’t get fractions to work, other than to note that the Adobe implementation of {frac} feature is not suitable for global activation, as it first converts every figure to a numerator, indiscriminately. You must apply it on an ad hoc basis.

kentlew's picture

And to answer mick.jaeck’s question: while InDesign or Quark are preferable for professional layout and design, I suspect that Pages will continue to work for your purposes. If your means are as limited as you’ve said, I wouldn’t rush right out to buy either until the need becomes more patently obvious. That’s my 2¢.

mick.jaeck's picture

Thank you all and thank you Kent for your 2¢.

InDesign could be the option in the future if the type of work I have to do demands that, at the moment it appears a bit an "over the top" application for my purposes. But, yes, if things change and requires it then I will focus on InDesign—maybe just CS3 second hand.

My questions have been thoroughly answered here, thanks a lot to all of you!

I will invest the next money in the Alright Sans font as a Whitman companion [or Tee Franklin (thanks for the hint), if my budget does not allow to purchase the Alright Sans Font.]

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