(x) Riddle - extended Futura Condensed {Hrant}

I was going to put this in Critique, but since I didn’t make it maybe it’s better here. Can you figure out what it is? But besides that, I’m really wondering what you think of it.




Quick guess: the ATM substitution font?


As requested by Hrant:


bigger than i thought. sorry.


how about some text?


Thanks Tiffany!

I can’t tell much from the text blocks, but the first image is pretty revealing. The narrowest style (#6) looks usable even at 200% I think. And at 150% the lightest weight (#1) sort of validates my original suspicion: Olive seems to become a nice monoweight sans.

BTW, I hadn’t realized that in the darkest weights Olive’s lc “s” goes to a “rationalized” stroke distribution.


Nope. But I guess now I don’t need to ask you what you think of it…

BTW, from now on I won’t reply if it’s just to say “no” to a guess.


OK, I guess you guys give up.

So, you know how typophiles cringe when they see a monoline sans condensed to fit a measure and as a result acquire a highly uncomfortable horizontal stress (because the vertical stems become too thin)? Well, I was thinking, what about the other way around? With some horizontal expansion you would quickly make a monoline sans acquire contrast, and *that* would actually be usable.

So what you’re seeing is Futura Condensed, 150% wider! A nice surpise, huh? It seems to work out fine, even in the diagonals. Basically, a completely new style of letter in 2 seconds. The only real problem is characters with (necessarily) unconventional stress, like that clunky “s”. But still.


It looks like poo to me. But that was a dandy experiment.

you earned 10.00$ in just 2 seconds. Your clients won’t be able to tell the difference.

How will you name your newborn clone?




Matthew Carter did some investigations into scale-proof lettering around 1970, essentially trying to see if it was possible to shore up a design against horizontal scaling. (I seem to recall that “Video” might have figured into the name of the design, but that doesn’t sound quite right.) If I recall, Matthew (and Linotype) decided to scuttle the project, but there were some interesting proofs published in the Journal of Typographic Research. Squarish thing with a bit of contrast, somewhere on the Melior-Eurostile-Folio continent.

> Squarish thing

Interesting. And it implies that the intent was to combat distortions from horizontal compression, which is of course the most common way users torture type: gotta save that space! (Which makes me realize: maybe they should try using vertical compression for a change, at least when it’s not a gotta-fit-it-on-this-one-line deal; especially since vertical savings always matters, whereas horizontal savings can come to naught when you hit a paragraph break, which is very common in a newspaper — a consideration Tracy has pointed out).

So I guess the features of a font that help preserve its integrity/character when compressed are:
1. Good stroke contrast.
2. Vertical stress.
3. Squareness.
4. Slight darkness.


Huh, I just thought of something else:
You know how Excoffon’s Olive has a funny lopsided stress? I wonder how it would look when expanded… (And the same with Bloemsma’s Balance.)