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Typeface Review

Realist

Reviewed by Christoph Koeberlin on January 25, 2012

In 1999 Martin Wenzel created FF Profile, one of the most human (and underrated) sans serif faces of the decade. 12 years later, here’s her more serious sister.

It seems like Wenzel had to let off a lot of warm, organic steam in FF Duper and Ode before having the necessary coolness for Realist.

Coolness, but not frostiness! Realist has straightforward letterforms, a generous x-height, and ascenders close to cap height. Though rooted in early Grotesque type, she doesn’t fall for their quirkiness like some recent revivals. But also it’s Wenzel’s calligraphic hand that separates Realist from more “flawless” designs like DIN and Gotham.

In this respect Realist truly is related to FF Profile, whose facial features are still tangible in Realist’s ‘a’, ‘s’, and the alternative double-story ‘g’ that’s a nod to Schelter & Giesecke Grotesk at the same time.

“She combines a Grotesque with a Humanist sans”, as Wenzel states, but I’d say there is no more than 10% humanism included (though the user can boost that ratio using the optional round dots and the alternative ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘g’ and ‘l’ of Stylistic Set 1).

All of this is available in eight weights and three widths, with a huge glyph set containing old style figures, arrows, frames, shapes and Latin Extended language support, making Realist extremely versatile from the start.

Christoph Koeberlin cares for FontFonts by day and for Typefacts at night. Currently he teaches his sons numbers (Felix) and reading crappy school typefaces (Julian).

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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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