Sensato E 2.0 (completely reworked + caps included)

1996type's picture

Hello everybody,

This is Sensato E, meaning it is the grade with the highest contrast in the Sensato font family. This is probably the hardest typeface I've worked on, so all critique is much appreciated!

Jasper de waard

SensatoE64-3.pdf41.45 KB
J Weltin's picture


Look at the flow from the bows of n, m, h into the right stem!
Also the diagonals of k, v, w, x would benefit from some tapering like it is visible in the horizontals of z. (It seems that there’s a bit of it in the y.)
And could you try something else with the dots than pure circles? Have a look at your terminals of a, c and s!

1996type's picture

Thanks a lot for some very useful feedback!

Look at the flow from the bows of n, m, h into the right stem!
Yes. I'll try to improve on that. It's definitely a weak spot.

Also the diagonals of k, v, w, x would benefit from some tapering like it is visible in the horizontals of z. (It seems that there’s a bit of it in the y.)
There already is tapering in k v w x y, though perhaps not enough for it to be clearly noticable. I'll try to improve that too.

And could you try something else with the dots than pure circles?
I could, but I won't. As far as I know tittles are an often discussed issue, which signifies it's relation to personal preference. I tried several different kinds of tittles, but I chose the cleanest, simplest ones.

Have a look at your terminals of a, c and s!
I can assure you I have had a look at them more than once, but they don't look 'wrong' to me. They are based on the terminals in Sensato A (visible in the sans-serif secion on typophile). Do you have a more concrete suggestion about what to do with the terminals?

putmeon's picture

very very nice.
take a look at that m - it is a bit too wide and the middle vert. stem is a bit like a shoulder of the n.
looking forward to see more.

J Weltin's picture


i meant to form the dots towards the terminals of a, c and s! But since you decided for round ones …

Trevor Baum's picture

That 'g' is gorgeous. Great stuff, Jasper.

Have you tried this with circular tittles? I've never been a fan of elliptical tittles, but maybe they look best here.

1996type's picture

Thanks for the support guys and Juergen for clarifying.

the middle vert. stem is a bit like a shoulder of the n.
What should it be than? Do you mean it has the same mistake in it as the shoulder of n (in which case you're right. fixed in update 1), or is there something else?

@Trevor: I actually thought they were circular, but you're right. There not. This is also fixed in update 1. I want my tittles to look perfectly circular!

@Juergen: I don't know what went on in my head when I made the original n, but I think it's fixed in update 1. Let me know if it's not.

1996type's picture

Edit: It's a bit late now, so I'll upload update 1 tomorrow =D

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I wish I had your talent, Jasper. One advice I do feel like I can offer is this: it's great to see you playing around with multiple variants (don't stop playing!) but in order to get this finished you might benefit from focusing your attention on solving one task rather than a thousand.

1996type's picture

Thanks Frode! I don't know if this is the result of talent, or just a never ending determination to create perfection.

It's not as much work as it may seem. Where I would normally design 6 styles (regular, light, black +italics) I will now have to do that twice (12 styles total) and interpolation does all the rest. The complete Sensato family (Sensato Serif not included) will have 5 grades, with ±18 styles (6 weights, + italics + smallcaps). That means I get a typefamily of 90 styles, while I have only designed 12. Now that's the power of multiple master!

I'm not giving myself a deadline, but I feel like this could be done within one or two (probably two) years from now. In the past I've proven to be able to work that long on one type-family. It's worth it.

1996type's picture

I uploaded Update 1, with improved m n h u v w x y k and tittles

Birdseeding's picture

Gorgeous stuff!

I'm wondering a little bit about the /f/. There may be a danger with this type style of it looking horizontally stretched, which of course you're largely avoiding admirably, but my gut instinct (I'm a sometime newspaper designer and see fairly much badly stretched type) was that when I first glanced at the /f/ it felt just that, horizontally stretched. Unbalanced, that is, in horizontal to vertical proportion. I realise with the large x-height it may be difficult to get the f feeling less squatted, but would it break the style completely to have the ascender curve further away?

Nick Job's picture

Hi Jasper, Looking pretty good. I would pay particular attention to the internal spaces (white) and ask yourself whether you would use curves like these if they were external curves? Some of them are very parabolic.

The bowl on the /a/ could be marginally deeper.

/d/ and /u/ foot/stem not consistent with the rest. Any reason why they are different from the same parts of /m/, /n/, /r/?

Tail of the /e/ rather long. Does it need to reach 'all the way'?

Terminals still bothering me. They are clunky, and the higher the grade, the more clunky they look. Can they be more consistent with the /r/?

The bend on the tail of the /y/ still looks to sharp, especially in this grade.

The period looks a little large.

Not sure about the thin ends of the /k/ and /x/ being horizontal. If you are giving the ends of the /v/, /w/ and /y/ an angle then surely the /k/ and the /x/ should have more of an angle logically (or at least the same)? Isn't the point that you're trying to get rid of sharp angles?

Agree with Johan, /f/ is a bit weak at the moment. Agree it could have a larger sweep to the right.

Good stuff.

1996type's picture

I get what you mean. I think it would not damage the style as much as the color. If I do what you suggest, the terminal will become too small. Although it's perhaps not 'the perfect f' I like the way the top seems to pull the stem towards te right. This is also one of the things I love in Tierra Nueva.

1996type's picture

Oops. My latest comment was directed at Birdseeding.

@Nick: I'm not sure what you mean with parabloc curves. I think you mean the inside curves in a d b c etc. look too 'steep', right? If you look at other high-contrast typefaces (eg. Didot) you'll notice they have a similar curve on the inside. I will try to make the curves a little smoother though, but this means I'll probably also have to make them a bit more square (extreme).

You're right about a, I'll work on that.

d and u foots are different from the rest because they point down, while 'the rest' points up. I tried to make them the way I made 'the rest', but it just doesn't look good. Hence the small inconsistencie. Nota, by Typonine, has a similar construction.

The tail of e is based on the tail of e in Sensato A. I'll have another look at the e in both Sensato A and E.

I'm afraid I can't do much about the terminals. The terminal of r has a much easier angle and more horizontal space.

I'll try to improve on the y

I noticed the period is slightly large, but decided to leave that untill I'm satisfied with the lowercase.

I'll change k and x.

Perhaps I didn't understand Johan correctly. It seemd to me as if he suggested to compress the very top (not the terminal, but the part before that) towards the right. I will try your suggestion Nick, though I'm quite fond of this f.

Great feedback! Working on it.

I can also announce that Expletus Sans is finally released, for free! Check the release section for more.

Cheers, Jasper

1996type's picture

Update! I think I fixed what you guys pointed out to me, but I decided to keep the inner curves the same and the terminals also remain unchanged. Some more personal opinions about the terminals in Sensato E would be much appreciated!

1996type's picture

Update! I added a picture of the Uppercase I got so far. As you might notice, the terminals in C S G are smaller than they are in the lowercase. I also changed them in the lowercase, but didn't update the pict yet. This will be visible when all uppercase are done. Hope you like it!

@Nick: You were right. Again. I kept the concept of the terminals but sized them down a lot. Hope it looks better to you now. =D

Jasper de Waard

Nick Job's picture

Hi Jasper. That's looking nice.

I think you have some consistency conflict to resolve around the upper counters of the /B/ and /R/. If you like what the /B/ does, make the /R/ do a similar thing. On the /B/ and /R/ topic, you will not need as much overshoot to the tops (and bottom of the /B/) as in, for example, the /O/.

The terminals are better but I would love to see them come to a point rather than be clipped. I know you said you tried it, but I wouldn't mind if they were slightly deeper and the curve into them was less parabolic (squarer?) from the upper internal extremum towards the terminal itself. In this regard, I think the /r/ and /y/ terminals are strong and confident, the terminals in /a/, /c/, /s/ etc. still don't appear resolved or harmonious with the rest of the design.

Second stroke of the /M/ (top left to bottom middle) looks thinner at top than at the bottom. Because it's a central stroke you can get away with parallel contours here, roughly speaking.

Compare the top left of the /M/ to the top left of the /N/. I'd suggest the /N/ is too thick on the uppermost horizontal contour. You may want to slant the second stroke less making the top look more like the /N/. Bottom middle of /M/ could also be less wide at the cut (on the baseline).


1996type's picture

The concept in R and B is the same, but it's just not as obvious in the R. I think I will alter both a bit so that they become more consistent looking. B and R already have a much smaller overshoot than O.

I will upload a picture, showing your suggestion for the terminal and my choice. Your suggestion results in a rather sharp terminal. Perhaps I should alter the terminals in r and y, more towards a c f s.

I'll change the middle strokes in M and review the relation between M and N.

Thanks Nick!

Nick Job's picture

check this out...

Blue - to the point
Red - less parabolic, fuller curve.
Magenta - coarser grade (lower contrast)

1996type's picture

Thanks for the pict Nick.
check this:

I must admit I'm leaning towards the first. After I've settled on one of the above I'll upload a picture with small variations within that terminal.

Nick Cooke's picture

Definitely the first one. You might want to thicken the curves at their widest point, as the l is looking heavier than the curved letters, also thicken the s through the main stem.

1996type's picture

I think this one is my favorite now. Somewhere between nr. 3 and nr. 1.

1996type's picture

The l does look thicker than the other letters, but that could also be the result of the lack of contrast within the l. Anyway, I'll see what I can do about it. I really dont want this to become an optima look-a-like, bit it's hard to make a high contrast sans look natural without the contrast within stems. What do you think about the latest terminal?

Nick Job's picture

>>>You might want to thicken the curves at their widest point, as the l is looking heavier than the curved letters...

That, or make the letter very slightly more super-ellipsoidal. I think the thickness may be thick enough but it doesn't stay thick for long enough through the curved strokes.

The latest terminal is fine in the E grade but I think it's going to cause trouble at the A grade end. And of course, it's your call to make. I think it could go more toward no.1 and as you already know I'm not averse to no.2.

No.1 is lush. Plus, do anything Nick C. says! (Or have a look at his lovely fonts, and then do anything he says.) When he says 'definitely', he's not playing games.

Lastly, it's nowhere near Optima, nor does it need to be. We'll tell you if it goes that way.


1996type's picture

I made all stems (not bowls) in the lowercase 4 units thinner. Does it look better now?
After a short break, I have decided on terminal nr. 1 with some minor tweaking.

I have already had a look at Nick's G-type Collection many times and they're beautiful indeed. It's great to get feedback from such a great typedesigner!

I think all terminals above will work fine with interpolation. It's still the same kind of structure.

I mentioned Optima, because I use it as a reference constantly because of it's excellence in design, but I don't like the style of it.

Nick Cooke's picture

Thank you both for your kind words.

The thinner stems are better. The s still looks a bit light. The ear of the r could be heavier. The bottom terminals of the c and e look a bit weak - bring the inner curve up a bit to give a bit more weight. Overall it's very good - and better than Optima, I don't care for it either - especially those horribly exaggerated cupped stems.

1996type's picture

"Optima, I don't care for it either - especially those horribly exaggerated cupped stems."

1996type's picture

I really should have been working on the italics of Sensato A, but I just couldn't help myself. As far as I'm concerned all my previous versions of Sensato E were crap, but this latest version is going in the right direction. It seems I just need some time off, everytime I'm stuck. It's now much more organic, unlike the stiff contrast-lacking previous versions of Sensato E, and the colour is much better. Perhaps I should take the 'organicness' even further, but the overall system of the typeface seems to be working now :-)


1996type's picture

Is it that bad? I really need some crits on this one...

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