I don’t remember when I first saw Sanomat, but I clearly recall what I thought to myself: “Damn, I wish I had done this!”
Lots of typefaces have very specific designs and clear forms, and recall the past either formally or with a suggestive name. Sanomat has neither a historical form nor a historically suggestive name. And yet it still resonated with me and impressed me through its very form. It’s like tasting a fruit whose taste you can’t imagine in advance.
Staring at words and lines set in Sanomat somehow set off tones, music, and images in my head. They were from the golden era of Hollywood — certain actresses, to be precise. In Sanomat, I see and hear Catherine Hepburn (lowercase a), Lauren Bacall (uppercase B), and Ingrid Bergman (uppercase G), to point out just a few of the more emblematic cases.
Sanomat has charisma and an iconic voice, typographically speaking. It is neither soft, nor cold, nor warm. To describe it, the word that kept crossing my mind is one we seem to come across more and more rarely these days: decency. Yes, decency — an often overlooked quality in typefaces with a strong purpose (like use in newspapers). Sanomat has a job to do and it simply does its job — with proficiency and without fanfare.