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Commentary

Farewell Futura, Hello Neutraface No. 2

Stephen Coles on October 22, 2007

neutra-compare

Under the perfect marketing copy, “raising the bar”, House Industries has released Neutraface No. 2, a new version of Christian Schwartz’s very popular Neutraface. In my review of the original, I referred to the typeface’s “novelty”. By simply raising Neutraface’s low waist, most of that quaintness is removed in No. 2, moving the whole family (which is completely mixable) toward more versatile, workhorse territory. This release is surely House’s response to seeing so many examples of Neutraface “standardized” by its users.

neutra

Also new is an inline version. Who doesn’t love inline type? It so vividly recalls WPA posters and other pre-war hand lettering. There are other heavy, inlined sans serifs like Phosphate, but one with a full family of weights and text cuts to back it up is very appealing.

neutraface-inline

8 Comments

  1. Designers will find the range of the new Neutraface and its text-going variants accommodating now that the gearbox and suspension are well-sorted. Hedge-threatening understeer will be a thing of the past ;^) The lowercase italics carry current stylistic trends. The fashion industry will love the light and thin weights.

    I like inline type so much I’ve made two of them, with two more in the works.

    Thanyou Stephen, thankyou House Industries, thankyou Mr. Shwartz and Mr. Neutra.

  2. Brandon says:

    Thank God! I can admit to being one of those who altered this font more than a few times.

  3. A lovely reworking of a great typeface. While it appears to more closely emulate the extremely popular Gotham, I wonder if the text weight is actually slightly more legible. And I love the thin and light weights of No. 2.

  4. Correction, Thank you Mr. “Schwartz”.

    I wonder the same thing about the text weight Andrew. At any rate it should give Gotham a run for its money.

  5. It is interesting that Christian Schwartz has now produced two alternate versions of his popular faces, both of which remove their more unusual features. He explains on his site that he has also produced an Amplitude Headline which removes the traps from Amplitude. Was this due to demand from the market place?

  6. Was this due to demand from the market place?

    The short answer is yes. People were making their own versions of Neutraface with raised crossbars, so there was clearly demand for it, and I wanted to do it properly if it was going to be done. But with Neutraface No. 2, I also wanted to take the opportunity to take the family in another direction, which we had considered exploring in the very beginning but chose not to. I finally got around to putting up some additional details on my site.

  7. Rob says:

    I for one would really like a bolder weight of Neutraface, versions one AND two, that includes both upper and lowercase characters. The bold weight as drawn is nice but doesn’t seem bold enough for some uses. The inline is great.

  8. Rob – you can’t go much bolder with a lowercase of this size without clogging the counters or significantly changing the character of the design. There is a Titling version with a extra heavy uppercase.

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Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

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