The State of the Sans

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Jim Beiber's picture
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Joined: 14 Jun 2009 - 5:38pm
The State of the Sans
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I'm looking to get 'up-to-date' regarding sans-serif typefaces and was wondering if anyone could give me a general overview of what's happening at the moment, particularly with geometric/neo grotesque styles.

I have got to a point where I am familiar with the majority of 'classic' faces (i.e. Helvetica, Univers, Futura etc). I now want to start using something a bit more contemporary. The problem is I don't really know where to start - I am aware of most of the major foundries and have looked at a few faces I've heard of such as FF Bau, Calibre, Graphik, and Brown, but am concerned I may be missing something very obvious, or should be considering some other options.

Is there anything that's been released in the past few years that really stands out? Can anyone provide a semi-decent list of faces I should be looking at?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Marc Oxborrow's picture
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Joined: 26 Apr 2002 - 2:17pm
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Typographica's year-end round-up is a great snapshot of what's happening now.
http://typographica.org/features/our-favorite-typefaces-of-2011/

A recent release that might be of interest:
http://processtypefoundry.com/fonts/chrono/

j's picture
j
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Joined: 30 Jul 2004 - 1:49pm
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Alright Sans is somewhere between neo-grotesque and humanist and has been relatively well received:
https://okaytype.com/alright/sans

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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I would suggest you look at publications/ads/websites that you like the typography of (or which give you ideas to pursue), and try and identify the fonts used. Then eliminate the oldies and retreads.

Alternatively, you could investigate the rationales behind a variety of new faces, and see if any of the theory strikes a chord with your own design interests.

To get a feel for who is designing what, start with MyFonts and FontShop, which distribute the majority of contemporary designers/foundries, and add the self-distributors to fill out the picture:
http://typophile.com/node/92109

Get on the mailing list of foundries/distributors, for email newsletters.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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BTW, often there's nothing more up-to-date than something retro! :-)
http://typophile.com/node/66441
(Although that top image is an old version.)

hhp

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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As nearly as I can tell, coming up with a new twist—no matter how slight—on a double-story a goes a long way toward peddling a sans typeface nowadays…

Jim Beiber's picture
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Joined: 14 Jun 2009 - 5:38pm
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Thanks for the comments. I do have some examples I'd be interested in ID'ing, so will post in the ID forum. Funny you say that oldnick, a lot of what I read about new Sans Serifs does seem to revolve around how the lower case a has been handled. I'm fairly worried I'll spend hundreds of dollars on a family that will look dated in a years time...

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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I'm fairly worried I'll spend hundreds of dollars on a family that will look dated in a years time...

That's the Avant Garde for you..