Text sans for textile designer

pstanley's picture

My wife Caroline, a textile designer (wovens, mostly upholstery), wants a sans for use herself in correspondence, invoices and so on, and that she can use for printed material. It needs therefore to work on ordinary laser-printed output, as well as properly set and printed. She is insistent it be sans. She is quite interested in the idea of having one face for headings, titles etc, and another for the text ... in which case I suspect we'd go for a geometric/distinctive titling face and a more humanist and blander text face.

I find the choice bewildering. Of the fonts you see around a lot she likes both Gill and Futura, but she sensibly wants something different. She likes OS figures. She likes Futura for its Bauhaus connections (a lot of her textile work is Bauhaus inspired) more than for what it looks like, I think. She tends to shrink away from anything quirky -- she reckons, probably rightly, that she needs something pretty plain. (She finds Lux and Giacomo, for instance, which I like a lot, too odd in parts.)

The current menu is: FF Kievit, TheSans, Syntax, Bliss, Parisine. I feel like a kid in a candy store, and simply cannot commit: but I can't afford to buy them all to try them out.

Any views, on these or others? We'd need only two weights, I think.

PS: from a personal point of view, since she is an American living in London, anything American (a fortiori anything RISD) would give her secret pleasure. But that's really a side issue: what she really wants is the best type for the job.

adriano's picture

Maybe Fedra SANS but it's way expensive. FF kievit is the most neutral font of your list (at least for me). Never tried Linotype Syntax. Bliss is nice, so is Parisine. The The Sans italics are delicious. Typophile candy store :-)

johnany's picture

I agree that Kievit is the most neutral option on the list and sounds like a good choice, but not having worked with iit myself I can't say much beyond aestetics. You can find some delicious old style sans figures in Martin Majoor's Scala Sans, wich obviously pairs beautifully with Scala.

dan_reynolds's picture

RISD, huh? Alot of RISD designers have done work for Font Bureau, but I'm guessing Interstate is not the way for your wife to go (although that is quite "american").

What about Freer-Jones' new Gotham from Hoefler Type? That gives you RISD, Americana, New York, and perhaps the modern flavor, too? The Bauh

kentlew's picture

If you're looking for neutral, plain, American, and RISD, then I might suggest you consider a few weights/widths of Benton Sans from the Font Bureau.

This is based on the quintessentially American industrial sans serifs of Morris Fuller Benton. Designers Tobias Frere-Jones and Cyrus Highsmith both attended RISD (and have returned to teach there periodically, if I'm not mistaken).

Earlier versions of this family are the simple sans that you will still find used throughout Martha Stewart Living (although, in the current design of the magazine, the Benton takes more of a back seat to the new Hoefler slab-serif face).

I think Benton Sans would make a fine, versatile, all-purpose typeface for a textile designer.

I don't think OS figures are part of the general release, but they may be available. If you call the Font Bureau, Harry or Samantha can tell you if it's possible to get an OS version instead.

-- Kent.

kentlew's picture

Hey, cross-posted. Dan's suggestion of Gotham is an excellent one.

-- K.

pstanley's picture

Thanks to all for those comments ... though they have "helped" only by making the decision even harder.

Benton and Gotham both look like runners, in their different ways. I don't think OS figures are really an issue for her. I'll let her decide.

(It's wonderful, by the way, how when one starts to look for a font for a specific purpose, if one digs around long enough, one finds too many good possibilities, not too few. Now why can't everything be like that?)

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