Serif face that works well with Neutra No. 2

catbus's picture

I'm involved with a nonprofit organization that's working to establish a chess center in Chicago. We've adopted Neutraface No. 2 as our "signature" typeface, in our logo and elsewhere: unlike other chess centers, which generally go the "O we are so highbrow and elegant" route, we're projecting a more muscular, no-frills image, while also honoring the essentially geometric nature of the game. I'm looking for a good companion serif face for use in marketing materials and in-house publications (one of the benefits we plan to offer members is a yearbook featuring analyzed chess games). At first I used Minion, but while it works well in some applications, it clashes in running text. Then I was drawn to Electra, which isn't bad, but the more I look at it, the more I feel that the high contrast in stroke widths makes it a weak partner. Bodonis and Didots are just too eccentric; Garamonds and even Hoefler Text, too old-fashioned. Suggestions?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I don’t usually do this kind of self-promotion, but our Telefon was chosen as one of the best typefaces of 2012 by FontShop (Chess Club Champion) and David Sudweeks on the FontShop Blog suggest pairing it with Minion for just “the right amount of nostalgia”.

Btw, what is it about Minion that “clashes” in running text for you?

hrant's picture

Funny, I was just going to recommend Telefon too! I think Neutraface is too generic here.

As for a text face, if you want something butch but refined, consider this:
http://ernestinefont.com/

hhp

catbus's picture

Telefon is pretty (and a strong alternative to Metro No. 2, which we were using before), but I'm looking for a serif face to go with Neutraface No. 2, not a different geometric sans serif to go with Minion. I know Neutraface No. 2 is popping up all over the place at the moment, but we're committed to it. Among other things, I need the condensed widths to make a squarer alternative logo for avatars and whatnot. Metro and Telefon both lack that.

What makes Minion clash? Minion's narrowness is part of it, and maybe the subtle slope on the crossbar of the e, but I think it's mainly that Minion looks too '90s to me. I need something that's either less era-specific or equally "now" -- or maybe something reflective of the '20s/'30s era, when Neutraface's predecessors (such as Metro) were getting off the ground.

hrant's picture

Indeed Minion is pretty stale/overused.

OK, I'm smelling a slab for text. Check out OurType's Fakt, HvD's Brix and A2-Type's Battersea. Or see if you like this: http://granshan.org/works/2008/hrant.pdf

hhp

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Sorry for going off topic. Neutraface is indeed great, but quite expressive. I would suggest finding something "invisible" for a companion -- not something that will fight for its attention. Have you looked at other Slimbach faces? Arno and Kepler comes to mind.

Nick Shinn's picture

I don’t believe that chess is inherently geometric: if that were so, the Staunton pattern would have been replaced by the Man Ray pattern. But that’s not the issue here.

Excelsior is a good match.
As a mid-century modern, it fits the Neutraface style era.
It has good width and a smallish x-height, so will not look too big or narrow when used with Neutraface.
And it has a sturdy somewhat slabby look, which could be considered contemporary with now.

BTW, I hope you will use the multiply character in notation, rather than the letter x.

altsan's picture

(Disclaimer: Not a professional graphic or layout designer.)

Perpetua, perhaps?

Possibly Century Schoolbook might work at small size, although you may want something less ubiquitous.

Nick Shinn's picture

Excelsior is indeed a less ubiquitous Century.

catbus's picture

No flag spam feature? That stinks.

Chris Dean's picture

*poof*

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