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Typeface Review

Ideal Sans

Reviewed by Ellen Lupton on January 25, 2012

Ideal Sans orchestrates our conflicted desire for handmade humanist forms against the cloak of a crisp, sans serif world view.

It keeps its humanist urges just under the radar while playing them out to ambitious extremes: no straight lines, no perfect circles, no parallel edges. Unlike many attempts to pursue such a double life, Ideal Sans passes as a true sans while supporting its rich secret life. From a top-level view, this remarkable type family feels clean and rational enough for a train schedule or an infographic and yet, up close, reveals enough strange gentleness for a love letter.

Ellen Lupton is a writer, graphic designer, and curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Her book Thinking with Type is a basic guide to typography directed at everyone who works with words.

One Comment

  1. Richard Day says:

    I travelled to your website after hearing raves about Ideal Sans from John Gruber and the Vesper app team. I was disappointed that the price is so high. This product is clearly aimed only at professionals, not home users.

    I think a narrow version would be most welcome, for use in spreadsheets, charts, videos, PowerPoints/Keynotes and anywhere you need to fit more characters into a given line. I’ve looked at Arial Narrow long enough!

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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.

Set in Bureau Grot by Font Bureau, Nocturno Display by Nikola Djurek, Fern (unreleased) by David Jonathan Ross, and JAF Bernini Sans by Tim Ahrens.

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