Gandhi bookstore gives typeface for free

Gandhi, the biggest bookstore chain in Mexico is giving away a full type family named Gandhi. The web page states that the typeface will ease Mexican's reading by: having big body size, being light and thus achieving ideal weight when printed under less than ideal conditions by ink spread (the page cites inkjet printing), unadorned and undistracting, designed for body copy but friendly when used big.

Gandhi has been known for one of the longest and more memorable ad campaigns in Mexico: http://gandhi.com.mx/index.cfm/Publicidad and this typeface seems to be part of the advertising strategy, "To make you read" (Mexico has a real low reading rate.).

It was designed by Cristobal Henestrosa (Espinosa, Fondo) , Raúl Plancarte (Tauran, Kukulkan), David Kimura (TDC 2009) and Gabriela Varela . The family will be featured in the 5th Tipos Latinos biennale.

You can download the type familiy here:
http://www.tipografiagandhi.com/

What do you think of it?

rs_donsata's picture

License states you can freely distribute them and use them for profit and non profit but you can't modify or sale them.

quadibloc's picture

The typeface looks familiar, as if it strongly resembles some existing typeface. But then, I can't tell the difference between Lucida and Stone... these 21st-century typefaces all look alike to me.

Well, not all of them, since lots of today's typefaces are highly unique - but there's this big group of typefaces that are intended to be contemporary and readable and have a sans and a serif that somehow belong to the same family that do look so much alike.

David Vereschagin's picture

Hm, yes, they do kinda seem to be generic 21st century faces, now that it’s been mentioned. This kind of thing seems to plague these so-called super-families especially. The sans follows the serif a little too slavishly.

As for printing under less-than-ideal conditions, I can see the counter in lowercase roman “a” gumming up in inkjet printing on ordinary office bond paper.

David

Té Rowan's picture

I suppose the sans and serif are meant to be miscible for that extra degree of emphasis.

R.'s picture

Is it just me or are the regular weights of the serif unusually light?

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

The serifs are on hunger strike.

rs_donsata's picture

Yes they are light, they are meant to compensate for the hihg ink spread of inkjet printers.

R.'s picture

Thanks, I should have read the description of the typeface. And I just found out that the world-wide market share of inkjet printers (>60%) is much higher than I would have estimated it to be.

Té Rowan's picture

Well, the buggers are cheap to buy. And only then do we find out that they are rather expensive to run.

hrant's picture

Nice to see a bookstore chain do this!

Reynir, in fact I have a friend who never buys ink cartridges. He just buys another printer and donates the used-up-ink one for a tax break... It's cheaper, and he never runs out of warranty.

hhp

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Well, the buggers are cheap to buy. And only then do we find out that they are rather expensive to run.

It’s more expensive to refill the ink then it is to buy a new inkjet printer in Norway.

Nick Shinn's picture

It appears that the roman and italic are equal in width for the sans, but not for the serif.

hrant's picture

Well, the Serif Italic does lose serifs while the Sans Italic actually gains some, which coupled to its narrowness I guess cancels things out.

hhp

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Actually the 60% figure sounds incredibly low to me. I'd bet its over 80%.

hrant's picture

But it's not just how many units are out there, it's how much they're used. Remember that the more printing a person/place does the more likely it will be on a laser and not an inkjet. And color pictures -a main reason to use an inkjet- don't contain text!

hhp

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

Dear typophiles:

All your comments regarding typefaces I contributed to design are always welcome. I’d like to explain some of our decisions.

The main purpose of Gandhi is to be useful for a non professional user. That’s the reason behind the big x-height, the weight lighter than usual, the families consisting of four members, and so on.

Some years ago, when developing Fondo, I did some tests about what “common readers”* in Mexico actually like when it comes to typefaces. One of my conclusions was that people do like lighter weights (in Mexico City, at least). I must confess that it was a bit disappointing because I do prefer darker weights (you can see Espinosa Nova or Fondo for that) but this experience told me that many people love pages composed with Berkeley Oldstyle Book rather than with, say, Adobe Jenson. (Please notice: it was not a comprehension or speed test, it was only about what the people looks appealing to read). So for this Gandhi project we decided to follow that trend.

* In this context, “common readers” refers to people who bought a book published by Fondo de Cultura Económica at some bookstores located in Mexico City.

Since it wasn’t our main goal, we didn’t run any offset tests before releasing Gandhi, but we printed a lot on inkjet and laser printers, and I’d say the result was pretty good in both cases.

> The sans follows the serif a little too slavishly.

That’s probably true, but I’d say it is not an error, but something done in purpose. We decided that a typeface for a bookstore chain should have some “serifness” on it, so it can be better related with books.

> It appears that the roman and italic are equal in width for the sans, but not for the serif.

True, the width in Sans Regular and Sans Italic are very similar (not identical), but that doesn’t happen in the serif. That’s what we thought was better for each design. Not quite consistent, I am afraid.

> Remember that the more printing a person/place does the more likely it will be on a laser and not an inkjet.

Hrant: many people use inkjet printers for text purposes. It probably doesn’t make sense at all, but that’s the way it is. I guess it is because they can print in color when needed, even if it is not the best option for text. They can just live with that, as long as they can decipher the characters.

McBain_v1's picture

@Cristobal Henestrosa
First, I just want to say that I think it is really good that you came on this forum to respond to some of the points that have been made. As a total amateur in this field (but very interested) it is extremely instructive to see how people who design type faces think and respond to comments.

Second, a question: does the typeface have any (or will it ever have) old-style figures?

dtw's picture

Steve, I've just downloaded a copy, and the answer to that is yes, it does. :^)
Small caps, too.

McBain_v1's picture

@dtw

Many thanks for that. I will have to get the font installed on my works laptop. I doubt that the small caps features will be accessible via Word 2010 but I might have better luck with my copy of PagePlusX5 (don't laugh, I can't afford a real DTP program like InDesign). Of the many free fonts that I have seen, the Ghandi fonts seem to be among the best.

I am just about to purchase some professional fonts as well (posted in an earlier thread) so it will be interesting to compare them - not from a design perspective as I don't know enough about this - more from a usage point of view.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

McBain, Inkscape is quite nice, and free.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

That’s right. As dtw already noticed, we included a couple of gifts for more serious users: the eight fonts of Gandhi have four sets of numerals (lining and oldstyle, tabular and proportional), superscript figures and small caps, all accessible via OT features.

> Of the many free fonts that I have seen, the Ghandi fonts seem to be among the best.

Thank you! It’s very early to make a final judgment but so far Gandhi has been extremely well received by the people it was designed for. Good to know it likes you too.

dezcom's picture

Bravo, Cristobal!!!

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

Thank you Chris! Hope you like it. I know it’s not Espinosa Nova, but we are very happy with the result anyway. ;)

dezcom's picture

Cristobal, Ghandi fills a need for many people of the world who are too often ignored because they have limited access to the day's technology. I applaud not only your work but your willingness to address an audience rarely considered..

hrant's picture

Cristobal, there's another, sort of "secret" way that this project could be of benefit to typographic culture: please try to keep track of what people -who are not designers, especially not type designers- say (if anything) about that unorthodox sans-italic. It might be very revealing in terms of what's possible in the future.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

There is some precedent for this sort of italic construction in a humanist sans, e.g. Auto, Sensibility, Ideal Sans, and of course Goudy Sans.

hrant's picture

But do any of those have an italic with more serifs?

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

Offhand, I’m pretty sure they all do. That’s the big idea.

hrant's picture

I don't know about counting Auto and Goudy Sans, but you're certainly right about Sensibility and Ideal Sans (clearly I haven't been paying enough attention).

So, do people complain?

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

People never complain about that sort of thing, they just don’t buy.
Sense has proven to be more popular than Sensibility, so far.
However, this site uses them both, but they seem to prefer Sense for Roman, and Sensibility’s italic:
http://www.youneedabudget.com/

John Hudson's picture

I too favour a heavier look to text, but there is a particular aesthetic to typography of lighter faces that can be very pleasing if it is done well. Ideally, the paper should be creamy, not too white, and the linespacing carefully balanced to the internal whites of the lines of text. Digital Elektra printed offset is a good example of a light type that, with careful handling, can be both very attractive on the page and very readable.

charles ellertson's picture

Digital Elektra printed offset is a good example of a light type that, with careful handling, can be both very attractive on the page and very readable.

Assuming you mean both Electra, and printed direct-to-plate, I rather disagree. Willing to investigate thought, so if you've got a title in mind, I'd like to take a look.

One of our customers adopted Electra as a core font, and I increased the weight a bit. But this was quite some time ago, with a (PostScript) repro > negative > plate workflow, and just the other day I was thinking it needed more weight with DTP.

Of course, I'm more or less trying to approach the feel of Marshall Lee's book...

Edit: usually printed offset on Nature Natural

Or maybe I'm just out of it, but I did do a search for Elektra...

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