Category Archives: Humanist Sans Serif

Open Sans

open_sans

View the web font spec­i­men sheet.

A human­ist sans serif font designed by Steve Mat­te­son.

Open Sans was designed with an upright stress, but still feels human­ist due to its open aper­tures, double-decker g, and human­ist italic. It has a sim­i­lar x-height to Ver­dana, but has a lighter stroke weight, and even more clar­ity (leg­i­bil­ity) at smaller sizes. The bold feels a bit heavy, but retains leg­i­bil­ity. There is also a semi-bold for use when the bold is too heavy.

Open Sans comes in 10 styles. It holds up well cross browser. The whole fam­ily is avail­able on both Type­kit and Google Web Fonts.

Filed under 10 Styles, Google Fonts, Humanist Sans Serif, TypeKit |

Ubuntu

ubuntu

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A sans serif open license font fam­ily, funded by Canon­i­cal and imple­mented by Dal­ton Maag.

Ubuntu has some quirky ele­ments, such as the cor­ners cre­ated where shoul­ders meet stems on the let­ters a, r, n, m, h, p, q, and u. The quirks don’t under­mine the over­all tex­ture, rhythm, or read­abil­ity of the font, but it does give text a slightly “futur­is­tic” feel which may or may not be appro­pri­ate for a project.

Even with the “futur­is­tic” feel­ing, I cat­e­go­rize Ubuntu as a human­ist sans because it has gen­er­ous aper­tures, bowls with implied stress (on the b, d, q, p), a curved foot on the low­er­case l, and a rel­a­tively human­ist italic.

Ubuntu’s x-height is slightly smaller than Ver­dana, yet holds up very nicely at smaller sizes due to gen­er­ous aper­tures and bowls. The bold weight is a bit heavy for my taste, though it is still leg­i­ble on screen. While a semi-bold is avail­able, it is not heavy enough to cre­ate a good con­trast to the reg­u­lar weight.

Ubuntu comes in 8 styles. I’ve tested the usual 4 plus the semi-bold, and they hold up beau­ti­fully cross browser. The whole fam­ily is avail­able on both Google Web Fonts and Type­kit.

Filed under 8 Styles, Google Fonts, Humanist Sans Serif, TypeKit |

Meta Web Pro

meta_web

View the web font spec­i­men sheet.

A human­ist sans serif font designed by Erik Spiek­er­mann and pub­lished by FontShop.

Meta was orig­i­nally a print font designed for small text. The same ele­ments that helps Meta stay read­able at small sizes in print helps Meta Web Pro stay read­able on screen: open aper­tures, a gen­er­ous x-height, gen­er­ous closed coun­ter­forms, and slightly loose let­terspac­ing. Meta Web Pro is not merely a print font repack­aged for web use—it has been care­fully hinted and looks great on screen.

Although Meta Web Pro has a decid­edly ver­ti­cal struc­ture, I cat­e­go­rize it as a human­ist sans serif due to its double-decker g, the curved stroke on the low­er­case l, and its human­ist italic.

Meta Web Pro works cross browser. 4 styles are avail­able via type­kit. A total of 16 styles are avail­able for license directly from FontShop. It also works beau­ti­fully with its com­pan­ion font: Meta Serif Web Pro.

Filed under 16 Styles, 4 Styles, Humanist Sans Serif, Other Source, TypeKit |

Ratio

ratio

View the web font spec­i­men sheet.

A human­ist sans serif font by psType.

Ratio has some quirky ele­ments, such as the rela­tion­ship between the dots and the strokes on the let­ters i and j. But the quirks don’t under­mine the over­all tex­ture, rhythm, or read­abil­ity of the font. This makes it stand out from oth­ers that try and fail to incor­po­rate unique ele­ments into a text font.

PsType says that Ratio shows “the best of both human­ist and geo­met­ric sans ser­ifs.” I cat­e­go­rize it as a human­ist sans because it has gen­er­ous aper­tures, a double-decker g, bowls with implied stress (on the b, d, q, p), and a lovely, human­ist italic.

Ratio’s x-height is smaller than Ver­dana, and needs to be set a bit larger to retain read­abil­ity. At the same time, the bowl is almost cir­cu­lar, mak­ing the font feel wider. Thus, I wouldn’t rec­om­mend Ratio for use in a nar­row col­umn. The bold weight is a bit heavy for my taste (the closed coun­ter­forms on the a and e start to “fill in” at text sizes). But the semi-bold is heavy enough to cre­ate a good con­trast to the reg­u­lar weight. I’ve used reg­u­lar and semi-bold in the spec­i­men sheet.

Ratio comes in 12 styles. I’ve tested the usual 4 plus the semi-bold, and they hold up beau­ti­fully cross browser. The whole fam­ily is avail­able on Type­kit.

Filed under 12 Styles, Humanist Sans Serif, TypeKit |

Droid Sans

droid_sans

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droid sans exampleDesigned by Steve Mat­te­son, Type Direc­tor of Ascen­der Corp.

Droid Sans is a human­ist sans serif font. Ascen­der describes it as hav­ing “an upright stress, open forms and a neu­tral, yet friendly appear­ance.” Its open aper­a­tures, slightly tapered spurs, and a double-decker g all make Droid Sans feel slightly more hand-written than man­u­fac­tured. It has a slightly nar­row bowl and an x-height that’s only a hair shorter than Verdana’s. Droid Sans also has a gen­er­ous let­ter spac­ing, which makes it eas­ier to read at small sizes, but can make the let­ters feel a lit­tle “loose” when used for headlines.

Droid Sans comes in reg­u­lar and bold. It is avail­able for free down­load at fontsquirrel.com. It is also avail­able for font-linking at google web­fonts.

Filed under 2 Styles, FontSquirrel, Google Fonts, Humanist Sans Serif |