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.