Serifa vs. Glypha

dctroy's picture

Does anyone have any preference between or thoughts about Glypha versus Serifa? (I have both families.)

Obviously there are similarities. Adrian Frutiger designed them both, and I read something that said Glypha is "based on" Serifa.

Glypha has an extra black weight, which is an advantage for my purposes, and Serifa seems to have a smaller x-height. Serifa seems a little hipper or cooler and Glypha seems a little cheesy to me... I think it has a kind of 1970s vibe.

But these are just my opinions. I'd really like to know what other people think.


vakuyi's picture

bump :o

William Berkson's picture

Frutiger in Adrian Frutiger: Typefaces. The Complete Works, slams his Serifa: "Serifa is one of my worst attempts at a typeface, I think it's fair to say. ... My idea of a constructivist slab serif type face as wrong for the eye ... just isn't comfortable to read, it doesn't flow well enough because of its wide fit."

Explains that Glypha is Serifa made narrower by stretching it in the x-height region. It's evident he thinks it works a bit better as text, but he still says "As opposed to other slab serif faces, Glypha is an engineered typeface. There's something contrived about it; I'm a little disappointed in it. It seems too harsh." He does think that it works in headlines and large posters.

Uli's picture

Originally, Glypha and Serifa were metrically identical so that you could switch from one font to the other without reflow of text:

Nick Shinn's picture

It was apparent in the mid-1970s that small x-height faces were passé.
The companies producing typositor fonts, such as Photo-Lettering and Headliners, were cranking out large x-height versions of just about every face of any merit, and many without. And of course ITC, with large x-height versions of Cheltenham, Garamond, Kabel, etc., as well as similarly scaled new designs such as Les Usherwood's Caxton.
This is the cultural and economic context which informs Glypha.

William Berkson's picture

Nick, I remember reading that the big x-height craze was also influenced by the switch to phototype. The desire was to have one-size fits all, and large x-heights helped that, it was thought. Do you think this is right?

Nick Shinn's picture

Nah, we just liked BIG!

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