(x) DSB train font - Via {Florian}

myronwu's picture

I saw this font all over Copenhagen's train stations, but I couldn't figure out what it is.

Anyone know the font?

Florian Hardwig's picture

Hi Myron,

I assume this is Via, a font family that has been designed by Kontrapunkt for the Danish Railways (DSB).
F

Florian Hardwig's picture

Two more quotes, with links:

In 1997 Danish design agency Kontrapunkt designed the new typeface ‘Via’ for the Danish State Railways to replace the previous ‘British Rail’ typeface who looks like Helvetica Bold. — Claus Eggers Sørensen: Danish Humanist Modernism at forthehearts.net

Bo Linnemann [of Kontrapunkt] professed being influenced by Knud Engelhardt, the famous Danish architect who lived about 100 years ago. The guiding principle in all of Linnemann’s work, accordingly, is legibility. Engelhardt used to open up glyphs such as A, M and N. Linnemann’s face VIA for the Danish Railways (DSB) has inner spaces bigger than those of Helvetica, which was the face used previously by DSB. VIA’s identity is in the lower case g, a neat feature found in more and more corporate typefaces these days. — Luc Devroye: Report of ATypI 2001

bowfinpw's picture

That 'g' is hauntingly familiar, and obviously not typical. I just can't think (yet) where I've seen it, but I think it is a fairly recent typeface.I thought it might have been a Dutch designer, but I couldn't find it in the "Dutch Type" book by Jan Middendorp.

- Mike Yanega

bowfinpw's picture

I see Florian's been busy while I perused my books. Makes sense they would have used Danish designers.

- Mike Yanega

myronwu's picture

Wow thanks for the information. Searching "copenhagen train station font" got me nowhere...

Thanks!

Florian Hardwig's picture

You’re welcome!

That ’g’ is hauntingly familiar, and obviously not typical.

At this year’s Typo Berlin, Erik Spiekermann named this ultra-open ‘g’ the Danish g. In fact, this style seems to be quite popular in Denmark – and Sweden. Thomas aka Formschub compiled some of his favourite ‘g’s in a fabulous ‘g-trospektive’, with most of the fonts actually coming from Scandinavia. In addition to his great list, there is Elliot Samuels by Hans Samuelson, Trotzkopf and Naniara by Bo Berndal or Dandygal by Jakob Fischer.
Having said that, Hobo is not a Scandinavian design. And even Germans can do freaky ‘g’s: just have a look at Verena Gerlach’s FF Karbid Display. Gee!
F

Fredrik's picture

"Gee!"
That was so funny :)

formschub's picture

Hello,

new food for this thread: I just discovered that the German ad agency Reinhard Ostmann from Hamburg seems to use the Danish DSB font for its corporate identity. This would mean that the font is available outside the DSB, either for commercial purchase or via another sort of distribution. My research on the web, however, did not yet return any result. Maybe someone has got a hint? I'd really love to buy the font.

Typophile greetings

formschub (Thomas)
_______

Design means: thinking comes first.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Just discovered another outstanding ‘g’ in an older thread …

bowfinpw's picture

A few fonts I have discovered that might qualify to be in the "g-trospective" are: Every OSF and Every Condensed, by Victor de Castro (Unifonts), Target and Tantalus by Tomi Haaparanta (T-26), Percolator by Adam Roe (T-26), Metamorphosis and Interviewer by Anuthin Wongsunkakon (T-26), Jones by ? (T-26), Formica and Beetle by Toby Stokes (T-26), Fox by ? (T-26), Roland and Uniglow by Jim Marcus (T-26), Monolein by Joseph Stitzlein (T-26), Compass and Septa by Ramiz Guseynov (T-26), Fasciani Senza by Lee Fasciani (T-26), Xyperformulaic by Matius Gerardo Grieck (T-26), and last but not least, Parma-Petit by Manfred Klein (once for A*I, now free).

From this list it's apparent that T-26 is home to many odd g's (and this was not a complete list of the oddities, believe me).

- Mike Yanega

Antonio Cavedoni's picture

One of my danish classmates here in Reading, Claus Eggers Sørensen, designed a typeface with a similar g: Kulby.

J0ERG's picture

@formschub

Thomas, i looked at that pdf file from Reinhard Ostmann in Acrobat Professional, to find out the font names.. That font is called "Eklektra", but searching the web delivered absolutely zero results. Too bad.

Best wishes,
Jörg

Gethyn1's picture

Hello,

Does anyone know if it is possible to buy the DSB typeface Via? I can't find it anywhere and really need it for a student project I am working on.

Thanks.

claaspb's picture

@JOERG
@formschub

More on the Eklekta font can be found here:

http://www.zuopinji.eu/project.php?menu=2&project=8

Lars Vorreiter writes:
"For the self presentation of the Agency a corporate typeface was developed. In the development I rebuilt all the characters in Fontlab. I made corrections on the Curve definitions and fitted elements from other fonts in it. The design of the fint consists mainly of three different source fonts. The “Via DSB,” “DTL Argo,” and “LT Rotis’. The font name ›Eklekt‹ was chosen because the word ‘eclectic’ reflects the characteristics of the typeface. It means taking the best of everything. So it just did. This typeface taken all the best features of its source fonts and creates a unique font with lot’s of character."

hrant's picture

Did Vorreiter re-use outlines?

hhp

claaspb's picture

The phrase "I made corrections on the Curve definitions and fitted elements form other fonts in it" makes it sound like he did, but I don't want to make any accusations.

claaspb's picture

at a closer inspection the g seems very similar. But most of the other characters differ more...


(Via with black, Eklekta with green)

hrant's picture

That seems like an outline swipe for sure...
Somebody should tell the guy that's not OK.

hhp

Fulaide's picture

You supposed was right, there are 2 characters in the font that are actually strongly inspired by the via from kontrapunkt. The small "g", that's by the way just one of the greatest "g" ever made is and a arrow. The font Eklekta is a mix of total 4 different typefaces. The name "Eklekta" means, to take the best of all and merge into something new. That's exactly what we did with this font. But beside the fact that we took elements from existing fonts, we spend a lot of work and energy in making a well design and drawn font that in it's self is quiet unique. I agree with you that this is not best practice, but in this case, the font is only used internally for the corporate design for the agency. It's not for sale or public available.

We just put together what we like a lot and shaped our own version from it. To have a great font to making nice looking Posters and other stuff.

Regards,
Lars

hrant's picture

Thanks to a new thread* I remembered
that I was planning to get back to this...

* http://typophile.com/node/91187

Lars, thank you for coming here to post that
honest response - I have to say I only expected
a reply to my private email to you outlining
the concern. Doing this in public will surely
help more people make each other happier in
this case and in the future. Call me hopelessly
optimistic!

That's said, it's still not OK. Meaning ideally
some steps should be taken, or at the very
least practices should change in the future.

The "g" is a special case in the Latin alphabet;
many people need help making it work. Maybe
this isn't what happened in your case - it sounds
like you were simply deeply inspired by it. And I
agree that the font isn't a clone of the original(s).
But that does not excuse copying outlines. If you
did "spend a lot of work and energy" making some-
thing (sufficiently) unique, you should have just
spend a little bit more energy making a new "g".
It's really too cavalier swiping its outlines. I do
believe that inspiration is highly necessary; but
this practice isn't.

Also, saying that your design is only for internal
use doesn't excuse this. Via was only for internal
use too and look what happened! :-/ I also have to
wonder how the other inspiration-fonts were used
in the making of Eklekta.

I'm not some sort of judge, and I only want to help,
so here's what I recommend - it might be hard to
swallow: make a new "g" yourself (it can look very
close); tell Kontrapunkt what happened; and give
Reinhard & Ostmann the new version, even if they
probably won't care (and wouldn't want to go the
trouble of replacing the existing version).

Good luck, and again, thank you.

hhp

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