sans serif becomes serif?

photosynthesize's picture

in an earlier thread i was trying to find a family of fonts that started quite plain and became ornate. i'm thinking a good way to solve my problem is to use a family start goes from sans serif to serif. the typeface that is perfect is called rotis. but it's £194. i can't afford it. does anyone know of any more affordable alternatives?

paul d hunt's picture

does anyone know of any more affordable alternatives?

i'm guessing that's about as affordable as you're going to find for a full family of fonts that does what you're describing.

dux's picture

>> the typeface that is perfect is called rotis.

"but it's..." so ugly

blank's picture

I believe that Fontin started as a sans and became a serif. And it’s free.

jmickel's picture

How about... Meta serif? ; )

There's also Fedra. But neither are exactly 'affordable.'

pattyfab's picture

Thesis: The Sans -> The Mix -> The Serif.

But not cheap.

Rotis - ick!

Jos Buivenga's picture

I believe that Fontin started as a sans and became a serif. And it’s free.

Fontin started as a semi serif and last year I completed a sans. Fontin serif however is still in progress.

crossgrove's picture

The family that does exactly what you describe is a display, caps-only thing, but in it's original MM format it went from sans to flare serif with any degree of flare in between. Penumbra, now sold as discrete fonts with names like sans, half-serif, flare and serif.

photosynthesize's picture

you're all geniuses.

why is rotis ugly? i saw another forum elsewhere where type designers were hotly debating how vile it was too.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Hi Emma,

why is rotis ugly?

There’s a whole award-winning book on this topic; rotis – eine Streitschrift by Christian Hartig & Ralph Burkhardt. [The book title’s pun is lost in translation: ‘Streitschrift’ means ‘(polemic) pamphlet’ and ‘controversial typeface’]

Rotis, designed in 1988 by Otl Aicher, tried to bridge the gap between Sans and Serif. It soon became heavily debated and generated polarized opinions. Some found its hybrid system very useful for corporate communication, and so Rotis consequently was used extensively to embody ‘solidity’.

Others dispised Aicher’s design, claiming he was a great designer (most notably: 1972 Olympics in Munich), but just not a proper type designer. Rotis is said to be defective in running text, as it has a distinctive vertical stress and therefore tends to form undesirable columns.

Especially the ‘smiling’ (or ‘keeling over’) lowercase ‘e’ gets lots of love and hate.

The Rotis type family was developed much from Aicher’s own theories on typography and readability, and as such, works better in concept than in practical application.
— Norbert Florendo in this thread

That’s exactly what we call a ‘Kopfgeburt’ in German – a mere mind game, useless in practice.


[edit] Oh, I knew I had read this ‘Kopfgeburt’ attributed to Rotis somewhere else: Robin Kinross and Erik Spiekermann on Is Rotis a typeface?

photosynthesize's picture

what an informed response, thank you florian. that Florendo quote was precisely the one i was reading...

i wonder why others on typophile find it to be ugly to look at though?

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