Sensato Multiple Master (Update 1)

1996type's picture

Hey everybody,

During the designprocess of Sensato I realised I just couldn't decide upon which contrast to use. After some troublesome nights (I'm not obsessed with typedesign at all ;-P) I decided to just make a MM file and try out some different contrasts. Takes a while, but worth it, I figured. Underneath shows the three variants I came up with, from high to low contrast. Obviously the high-contrast one has some troublespots (the other ones were already there) but you should be able to get the picture. However, I came up with the following. If I design the two extremes I could make the in-between using MM easily, which creates something like optical weights. I could name them Sensato A - C, each letter (A-C) representing a different contrast. I would like to know what you think of the idea and if you have any critique on the design itself, that is always much appreciated.

Cheers, Jasper

1996type's picture

First thing I notice is that the high contrast looks like it has a larger x-height and the glyphs are wider (this is not an optical thing. The overall with is the same because I kept the same sidebearings), but that can all be solved easily. Sorry for the wide pic.

putmeon's picture

i think there has to be a decision, its hard for me as well to say which one is better – both do it for me. :)
besides that, it's awsome work. can't wait for the next steps!

1996type's picture

"I think there has to be a decision"

Why? It's not unknown for a typeface to have a display version, and I suppose one contrast in between won't do much harm. Offcoarse they'll be available as seperate packages so that shouldn't be a problem either.

putmeon's picture

"It's not unknown for a typeface to have a display version…"

well, in my opinion, in that case, the display version has to distinguish itself a bit more from the text-one.

brianskywalker's picture

Release both!

The low contrast could have lower contrast IMO.

1996type's picture

Both? There are three. I've settled on the lower contrast. I guess it will always be a matter of personal preference, hence the different options. I'm currently working on refining the high contrast and I've increased the contrast a little to make the difference between the three more clear. Thanks for the comments so far guys. It really helped to clear my mind about this. Expect an update soon ;-D

Stickley's picture

I'm working on a four-size optical expansion of my designs (Stickley Text), it gives me a chance to refine the design and explore the optical effects of the shapes at different sizes. Yours can easily be made to do the same things based on the work you've done so far.

The changes are in the curvature of the stems and details, overall contrast, x-height, widths, and side-bearings—all adjust as you go through the sizes from caption to display. The caption being more stumpy, weighty and spaced apart, the display having the most delicacy, contrast, and more tightly spaced (the sizes are the same in this example). Everything is based off the text weight (2nd down).

When used together they balance out and look to have the same visual weight because of the changes, not in spite. This example is based on 6 pt, 10 pt, 18, pt, and 56 pt usage.

When set at just the text weight:

Optical families take a lot of work to get all the pieces to fit over all the sizes, but are great if you really want the look and balance they can provide.


1996type's picture

Wow! That looks like its going to be a great typefamily when its released. I suppose you made the two extremes and used MM to make the in-betweens, right? At least thats what I would do. I think that optical weights need more refinement in a serif typeface. All I have to do is thin all horizontals, thicken verticals slightly and make the inktraps really small. I think I will just call them Sensato A - C as they can all be used at display sizes depending on what kind of look the typographer/designer wants to achieve.

Trevor Baum's picture

You could release multiple grades, like H&FJ did with Mercury, for example. Very subtle variations in weight and contrast that allow printers or typesetters to have greater control over the outcome of the final product.

1996type's picture

I uploaded an update above. The high contrast grade is now much more refined (Does anything look "wrong" to you?) and optically balanced to the low contrast grade. I'm working on the uppercase and will soon upload a pdf with all three grades. I left out the middle grade because if the two extremes are designed correctly, the middle grade won't need any manual refinements. Hope you like it!


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