What are the most spacially economical (not condensed) sans serif faces?

brookfabian's picture

We are looking for sans sefic faces that are really spacially economical with as large an x-height as possible for setting the nutritional info on some food packaging we are designing. The packaging is subject to some very tight guidelines and we are looking for a face that has a large x-height, is spacially economical but is not a condensed face. Any suggestions are very welcome.

bojev's picture

How about Bee, the font used at the bottom of many movie posters - it has a lower case too. http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/urw/bee/

Example of how Bee might work:

Chris Dean's picture

[to follow]

Jens Kutilek's picture

OK, now we had one serif and one condensed suggestion, I’ll try to answer the original question ;)

FF Unit (has the added benefit that it’s eminently readable)
FF Clan Narrow (large x-height and lots of widths to choose from in the Clan family)

hrant's picture

Brook, I assume you realize that an x-height can be too big. So if you really want to save space with no regard to readability you might as well just use all-caps!

However, trying to satisfy your criteria, I would recommend this:
https://www.fontfont.com/fonts/quadraat-headliner *
If that's too condensed, maybe this old thing from 1959:

* Although you'll have to track it looser for small setting.

Also consider Bell Centennial* and H&FJ's elusive Retina.

* http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/bitstream/bell-centennial/


bojev's picture

Hrant, I was thinking Bell Centennial too. I have used it in text settings and it works well and is very clear at small sizes. First heard of it for text use at an Edward Tufte Information Seminar.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Look at Amplitude.

hrant's picture

Good one.


bojev's picture

Amplitude Comp Light seems like it would not need much space to work -

Chris Dean's picture

@brookfabian: Do you mean “We are looking for sans serif faces…”?

I can edit the typo if you like.

I’m not quite sure I understand your request in that you want a typeface that is spatially economical horizontally, but not condensed. It’s sort of saying “I want a condensed typeface, but not one that’s condensed.” Does a client on the committee have a peculiar aversion to the word “condensed?” Perhaps you can clarify.

That aside, try News Gothic.

hrant's picture

A narrow x-height region (which is basically what "condensed" means) is only one way to save space. In fact the more paragraph breaks you have the more horizontal economy ends up going to waste. In contrast, a font with short extenders (read: wide and tall x-height) can be set at a smaller point size (without looking too small) and with tighter leading, resulting in vertical economy (irrespective of paragraph break frequency).


PabloImpallari's picture

The packaging is subject to some very tight guidelines

Are you referring to the FTC (http://www.ftc.gov/) guidelines?

37DMK's picture

I don’t know if i’m late but have you had a look at these?

none of them are called “condensed” but all of them are very spacesaving. Perhaps one of the most common spacesaving sans serif is the FF Dax from Hans Reichel.

hope that helped.

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