Which Swift is the best?

NvdK's picture

For a project I am on, I would like to use the Swift from Gerard Unger. Now I saw that he has made two versions, one sold by Elsner & Flake and one by Linotype?
Which one is the best?

Thank you very much,
Nicolien

hrant's picture

From what I understand the improved version is only slightly better overall.

hhp

NvdK's picture

Hrant,

Thanks for your quick reaction.

I just saw that Gerard Unger also has an version swift 2.0. Do you mean that version?
It is anyway an bigger familie? But is it better?

Nicolien

hrant's picture

Yeah, I meant the 2.0 version. Anything that doesn't have that suffix is most probably the old version, which I think is the same no matter where you get it - but I could be wrong.

hhp

NvdK's picture

Thanks Hrant.

Can you please advise me what I can do the best. Buy an postscript or truetype or open type (if it is available!

Nicolien

hrant's picture

Swift will probably work better in PS, but it depends on what you're doing with it. For example, if it's hinted well, and you're using it on-screen, then TT might be better. An OT version would be good if Swift has OT features (and you app supports OT).

hhp

hrant's picture

I didn't realize there was a difference in the number of weights.

The fact that Unger is indeed a "proven talent" is certainly a positive, but wasn't he that when he made the original Swift? How much can you improve an already superb font without making drastic changes? And are individuals not susceptible to versionitis?

hhp

John Hudson's picture

The fact that Unger is indeed a "proven talent" is certainly a positive, but wasn't he that when he made the original Swift? How much can you improve an already superb font without making drastic changes? And are individuals not susceptible to versionitis?

Did Gerard personally digitise or directly oversee the manufacture the original Swift? I doubt it. Swift 2.0, apart from the obvious benefit of the extension of the range of weights, might be likened to a 'director's cut': you're getting Swift the way the creator of Swift wants you to have it. This is not to say that some people might not be perfectly happy with the earlier version, or even prefer it. However, if I wanted Swift for a job, and the budget permitted, I would go for Gerard's version. Among other (non-drastic) changes, I believe the spacing is improved.

hrant's picture

> legiblity/character count tests

Wazzat?

hhp

hrant's picture

Yves, is this comparison document available for viewing?

BTW, did anybody mention that apparent size and apparent leading need to be normalized for any comparison of economy-versus-readability to really make sense?

hhp

NvdK's picture

The 2.0 version is he most complete and looks very good to me. I ordered it today. I have seen an readingtest from the site of Gerard Unger (http://www.gerardunger.com/fontstore/store-howto.html) and it looks great.
As Hrant says an PS version is in my case the best I think. I have been told that in mei this year the OT font is coming up but unfortunately I can't wait for that. The project is starting soon where I am working on.

Thanks everybody for thinking with me.

Nicolien

jfp's picture

>From what I understand the improved version is only slightly better overall.

In some way this is a great compliment! Gerard Unger Swift 1. 2. 3. 4. whatsoever how they are digitized are so good, that in any case you got already excellence in typeface design. :-)

(not a joke, I truly think what I say)

William Berkson's picture

>How much can you improve an already superb font without making drastic changes?

Here are a couple of other improved versions. The refinements in Minion Pro, compared to Minion, to me made a big difference, even though they are minute. The serifs are a little bit heavier and the round letters narrower.

The big Optima Nova project I think is wonderful. It really improved the weight of Optima for digital setting. I don't know about the other re-dos for Linotype, such as by Frutiger; it would be interesting to have somebody to do a survey of these 'second time around' efforts. My guess would be that they would be significant improvements.

jfp's picture

Well, as designer of one of the Next, I can say that "Next typefaces" are real new fonts (with different designers in many cases) than a version 2.0 as we discuss here about Swift.

Hildebrant's picture

Buy directly for Unger if you are able, he has been a overly friendly chap in my personal dealings.

Hildebrant.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I would assume that the two versions sold on MyFonts are the same. You should really be comparing both of those with Swift 2.0 at Unger's site. Those two versions have a paltry eight variants while 2.0 has twenty-four. Maybe I'm crazy but any typeface whose designer (proven talented) has seen fit to re-work it should be looked at seriously. Am I wrong?

Miss Tiffany's picture

Not disagreeing with you there ... at all ... Hrant. Swift 1.0 was used all over the University of Reading, I grew to really like that version. I suppose I'm speaking from how I might choose which version. Granted the '69 Mustang has a cool factor. But typefaces aren't cars. It would be more practical and make more sense to invest in the new version which probably has some tech advances too.

Bald Condensed's picture

> The fact that Unger is indeed a "proven talent" is
certainly a positive, but wasn't he that when he made
the original Swift?


I have it from the man himself when I did his legiblity/
character count tests back in my FontShop days: he
thinks the original digitization isn't very good. John hit
it on the head with his "director's cut" theory. Use 2.0.

Bald Condensed's picture

He wanted to compare a large number of Moderns
in identical clumn widths, first all at the same point
size and then at (aproximately) the same x-height.
As we had all the fonts handy he came over and I did
the setting and output to bromure for him.

Luckily I was not too awestruck to forget asking him
about Swift (Erik introduced me to him at the Monotype
Conference the previous year). He told me.

Bald Condensed's picture

> Anything that doesn't have that suffix is most probably
the old version, which I think is the same no matter where
you get it - but I could be wrong.


BTW No you're not. Right on all counts. :-)

Bald Condensed's picture

> Yves, is this comparison document available for viewing?

No, that's really old stuff (we're talking mid-90s here), and it
obviously was meant for private use.

> BTW, did anybody mention that apparent size and apparent
leading need to be normalized for any comparison of
economy-versus-readability to really make sense?


That's why we did the second series of tests with normalized
x-heights. It was quite interesting and there were some
surprising results.

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