Optima and friends

LoremIpsumLoremIpsum's picture

Any recommendations for fonts that work with Optima? Its kind of a tough one because Optima is half serif and half san serif.

aluminum's picture

Optima doesn't have any friends.

LoremIpsumLoremIpsum's picture

Yeah, no kidding. I wish Optima wasn't such an a** and more fonts liked him.

typerror's picture

Optima works well with Palatino, also by Zapf. The amazing thing about this whole group (Optima, Palatino, Michaelangelo, Sistina, Kompakt, Gilgenhart, Phidias Greek, and ultimately Aldus) is that they ALL work together.

I do not have any problems with Optima, other than overuse, like others. It functions very well, and now that they have expanded the face to include condensed versions and additional "approved" weights it will endure... even if it displeases other type designers.

Yeah, it's easy to trash, by some, (a lot of times I think that is nothing more than gang mentality) but it has endured for 50 years : )

Michael

Nick Shinn's picture

I wish Optima wasn’t such an a** and more fonts liked him.

Well, if she wasn't so butch...

**

For contrast, would a wiener font work?

paulstonier's picture

Michael, I believe you forgot to mention Melior…

Avenir and Scala actually work pretty well, too.

Rochester Institute of Technology occasionally pairs Optima with Univers.

blank's picture

I agree with Michael, Optima is great if used as intended: a titling face alongside Zapf’s classic book faces.

typerror's picture

Melior does not belong in the same group. It is not, like the others, based on pen/brush forms. Rather it is based on the super ellipse. It does not have similar interior shapes.

Zapf designed the aforementioned to work in tandem.

Michael

typerror's picture

Or rather... he was on a decade roll of consciousness that fit together.

Michael

paulstonier's picture

Good to know. Thanks.

fguimaraes's picture

Does anyone else like it as a text face? I actually really like reading extended copy set in Optima.

(No, really. Why... are you laughing? Stop it!)

speter's picture

Several of Zapf's books are set in Optima, and I think it works quite well (especially the old metal version).

Yehan's picture

Optima? for text? Okay..maybe the metal version, which probably isn't as anemic as it's digital sibling... but really??? I'm curious to see a sample.

Joostmarcellis's picture

Personaly i think the optima doesn't work, so why would it work with other fonts

paulstonier's picture

I also find Optima to be quite pleasant as a text face, but it has to be used well. Which, often means using a large amount of leading.

William Berkson's picture

Note that Optima Nova beefs up Optima a bit; it may work better in text than digital Optima--has any one used it?

Yehan's picture

No moolah:P But in all seriousness, anyone out there who has it? Could you kindly set a block of text and upload the PDF?

fguimaraes's picture

No moolah either; as I said, I like it as a reader :) Oddly enough, I can't find a single book set in it right now (I'd upload a scan otherwise), but you can have a look at page 273 of Philip Meggs's Typographic Specimens on Google Books.

E. Scrooge's picture

Here's a block of text I got my friend to do quickly as I don't have the font.

Optima Nova Pro Regular from the Linotype Platinum collection.

http://i32.ahpic.com/7mht05.png

Hope it's what you wanted.

typerror's picture

William

There is a small booklet that is, I think, available from Linotype. Or used to be. I started looking through the mess and cannot locate it. I am sure it is listed on line somewhere. I never employed the Dewey Decimal System in my library : )

@ Marcel I think with the extensive overuse of Optima there are more bad examples of it out there than there are good. You have probably seen mostly the bad. People tend to set it it too tight and do not lead it properly and use the cloned versions, all functions of the DTP revolution. And once again see the faces above for "sympathetic partners." They DO work well with Optima!

Michael

Joostmarcellis's picture

@Micheal your probably right, but i must add that i'm not font off sans serif with high contrast

typerror's picture

Marcel

I lectured last evening at VCU to a gathering of illustrators. I told them that I too was an illustrtor... I just use "stick figures" : )
I.e. the alphabet. I explained that the alphabet, from my perspective, is simply a skeleton, a very pliable one (from a lettering artists perspective)... I concentrate on the exoskeleton to infuse meaning.

Most Sans too me are sterile revisionist forays into technological and reading efficiency. On the other hand there is Optima with personality. An undeniable touch of the hand. I know I am extremely biased. I don't apologize for it. And try to not be too antagonistic anymore.

And certainly Optima is not suited for everything. I love Universe, Poppl Laudatio (which you probably would not like), and some other sans that are very quirky. I mix them all the time with my lettering. Most times I draw my own sans.To me it all comes down to suitability.

But I would never use Helvetica and I won't rent the movie. Period :>)

Michael

typerror's picture

O.k.

Before I get blasted, I used Helvetica ten years ago in a logo. And I am waiting for William so that I can use his Caslon in one : )

Hurry up William!

Michael

hrant's picture

Dump Optima. Try Pascal instead.

hhp

typerror's picture

You love bad ripoffs don't you Hrant?

Michael

hrant's picture

Are you calling José Mendoza & Almeida a rip-off artist? And a poor craftsman? I hope some of his students are around to put you in your place.

Pascal's caps are indeed uncomfortably close to Optima's, but luckily most text is lc, and there there's very little similarity. Pascal is vigorous, sincere and cheerful, with a glimmer in the eye. Optima is staid - too gray. It's over the hill, and the brakes are failing.

I own a case of Pascal in two sizes. I wouldn't spend a dime on Optima.

hhp

typerror's picture

Not this version!

I corresponded with Jose for many years... I think this is a weak version. I have always liked Pascal. Never had a problem with it. This digital version bothers me! Wasn't speaking of the original.

See my article on him in Scripsit.
Michael

typerror's picture

Your point now that I have clarified?

P.s. His work is framed all over my studio.

Michael

hrant's picture

Your back-paddling is quite noisy.

Clarified? No need for that - I've know exactly
where you're coming from for a while now.

--

The best thing about all these Zapf revivals? Kobayashi.
http://typographica.org/001103.php#palatino-sans-fonts

hhp

Nachos's picture

Palatino rocks and can work with Optima depending on where its used. Univers is a good looking sans but may be more like Helvetica than optima in some ways?

I would recommend the film Helvetica to Michael and anyone else interested in type whether you like the Helvetica font family or not. It has some interesting interviews with some very accomplished type and graphic designers. Some who actually detest Helvetica.

William Berkson's picture

Michael, the movie is really a history of graphic design in the past half century, and a delightful movie. I recommend just fast forwarding through the Helvetica bits :)

Also in an earlier discussion of Optima, I thought John Hudson had a good point that Optima Nova may be better for text and the original Optima better for display.

I don't know about Optima for text altogether, but it's a great display face. It has a very distinctive look, and is out of place in many settings, but that is true of all great display faces. So I don't get the Optima hatred.

typerror's picture

Hrant

That would be "peddling"! And you have no clue where I am coming from until you give up the keyboard and try your hand at the pen. That would be humbling. Go ahead and cast baseless aspersions. Aren't you the one who deplores that... oh it is only when it suits you and your agenda!

Michael

typerror's picture

Geoffery

Technically it is a sans.. it only intimates serifs. They are not there. It is the waisting that accentuates this optical illusion.

And I am sorry this turned nasty. You have my recommendations and I am done.

Yes William I am stepping back from the ledge : )

Michael

hrant's picture

William, it's not hate, just strong unease, or even a bit of revulsion. Optima is like those old women who think they're still god's gift to society. They take on airs, and fan the dying embers of old men who want to remember, want to forget. It might be human, but it's also a weakness and not something to celebrate blindly. Somebody -preferably a close friend- should tell the old hag to start acting her age already.

hhp

William Berkson's picture

"fan the dying embers of old men who want to remember, want to forget"

Damn, Hrant, that's good. Do you write poetry? You should. Seriously.

typerror's picture

NO I am not done yet!

"I’ve know exactly where you’re coming from for a while now."

How condescending is that statement. You are better than me? Your opinions carry more weight? You think you are the end all critic?Yours should be the only opinion that counts? No room for other points of view? You pick and criticize constantly... just when do you allow for others opinions instead of jumping in with jabs at an honest discussion. I was simply trying to add some information and you came in with negativity.

Michael

poms's picture

BTW
Publica, a typeface designed by Karl-Heinz Lange for Typoart http://www.typografie.info/typowiki/index.php?title=Publica ?

Nachos's picture

Get a room you two.

Florian Hardwig's picture

@Thomas (Poms): Here’s a little story about the origination of Publica.

poms's picture

Yes Florian i've seen this thread before … and forgot it – i'm looking forward what the upcoming digital versions/- interpretations of some of the Typoart typefaces will be. I'm curious about the releases!

Yehan's picture

Hmm..I thought we were discussing the finer points of Optima and it's readability. Oh well. having looked at the sample of Optima Nova (thanks E. Scrooge!) I'm still not convinced. It looks to me like a a case of student typography. Incidently, I'm guilty of such a mistake in school. I blame it on the lack of fonts available on the machine I was using:P

typerror's picture

"I thought we were discussing the finer points of Optima and it’s readability."

We are, but me and Hrant just have issues : )

Michael

fguimaraes's picture

Yehan—you have to see it in print. That's where it really shines.

Yehan's picture

haha..alright Michael..

fguimaraes, fair enough... Does anyone know of a book set in Optima? I don't have Optima Nova, but I guess I could try setting a bunch of text first in the old version.

hrant's picture

Issues? We share none that I've noticed.

Finer points? I'll be sure to let you know if I see any...
(Anybody who is in fact more interested in learning than
merely yakking should start by perusing the archives.)

hhp

Joostmarcellis's picture

@Michael

it has been a couple off post back, but there is something as "to much character" especially in text fonts, that character should not influence the message that is communicated. (reading comes first, beauty comes second)

and there is no need for apologies, everyone is intitled to his/her own opinion

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