San-serif fonts with large x-heights

buda's picture


I'm currently designing a TV brand for an ISTD project. I am looking for a typeface to be used on screen and for print.

After reading this thread - it stated for maximum legibility on screen a typeface with a high x-height should be used.

So please recommend some san-serif and slab-serif fonts with high x-heights.

I have used for my logo if this helps :)

Thanks in advance

quadibloc's picture

One well-known example is Antique Olive.

eliason's picture

When I hear high x-height I think ITC fonts - maybe ITC Franklin Gothic or ITC Kabel?

kosal's picture

Eras has a big x-height. Though it would be kinda crappy on screen. Point is, high x-height shouldn't be the only criteria. What's the audience for the brand? What kind of content or personality is associated with it? BTW, the post you referred to is golden.

buda's picture

Ah sorry good point!

The brief is -
We’re an international TV Brand. We love our drama, reality TV, films, soaps and niche programmes. We commission gutsy programmes and blend cool drama with our own lifestyles. We segue effortlessly from escapist, to gritty, to humanitarian, to sensationalist.

The picture is fantastic. What’s missing is the frame. We’ve lost our mojo. We are too passive – lost in the avalanche of brands (movies, adverts, sponsors, TV shows) screaming for attention.

We need to build a big, bold brand – to forge emotional connections with our audiences – to be open and compelling – rooted in truth and effect. We want to carve out a place in people’s hearts – be a challenger and express a clear point of view. We need to be more than expected – not just any other channel.

The Brief
We want you to develop the identity/look and creative direction of the channel.

Channel X is only a working title – we want you to come up with a name that reflects the personality and values of the channel.

Create a logo that represents the channel. It can be live action, animation-based and it needs to have a strong, bold attitude that feels alive while being essentially typographic. This needs to be applied for on screen use and for a range of channel marketing materials and merchandise.

– create a distinct, expressive, cohesive, entertaining, exciting channel look.
– have a strategy that is driven by the proposition ‘stimulation for the masses’.
– relate the look to channel content.

– create typical logo idents that feel generic.
– create typical TV design.

Target Audience
Our audience
– love being entertained.
– are not affluent but have sophisticated spending and tastes.
– are articulate but not necessarily university educated.
– are 16–45 with a slight male bias.
– are a cultural mix.
– includes young parents.

I feel the channel is trying to be like a mix of Channel 4 and MTV.

buda's picture

This is the logo (still work in progress) I need the typeface to accompany with -

(to give advice on the logo I have a thread here -

Nick Shinn's picture

New: FF Clan

dberlow's picture

I find it reasonably interesting that people 'looking for tall x-heights" so often don't.


hrant's picture

It doesn't really match your logo, but I used to rely quite heavily on Poppl Laudatio for video/screen work - it's very good at that. It's not technically a sans, but its flares do give it great visual interest at larger sizes. However in print I would not use it for more than a couple of lines of text; for that I would find a font that matches Laudatio but with a smaller x-height (and perhaps not as wide). Maybe Pascal.

If you want something more contemporary and rigid, try FF Balance, which actually evokes "TV" to me quite strongly. It even has gentle traps, which would compensate for dot gain in video. Also, you could use it for print text, but still not long text.

Logo feedback in that other thread.


Chris Keegan's picture

Take a look at Fontsmith, they have quite a few faces that might work.

Jackson's picture

Our audience – love being entertained.
I like that part of the brief. = )

Alright Sans has a large x-height (or a short cap height, take your pick). It also has nice open apertures and would work well across media.

blank's picture

Most sans faces have a relatively tall x-height. Unless you start digging into display type you’d be hard pressed to find a sans with an x-height small enough to impact legibility on screen except in the heaviest or most compact weights. The kind of small x-heights that effect legibility are found in serif designs like Centaur and Mrs. Eaves which really aren’t likely to get used on screen anyway.

hrant's picture

James, things can get pretty blurry pretty fast on video. And on video much of the benefit of a large x-height isn't just about visibility (through size), it's about helping out crowded letters like the "e" and "a".


quadibloc's picture

The logo makes me think of Gill Extrabold as appropriate. (I'm sure there are more recent choices, though...)

Nick Shinn's picture

Does your target demographic have high definition TV?
This is pertinent to the issue, but is missing from the brief.

buda's picture

Unfortunately the brief doesn't mention anything about HDTV, so I think they've left it up to us to decide.

Currently siding with FF Clan, as I feel it incorporates well into the whole identity -

What do people think?

(Now I see it on screen, I'm not as sold)

hrant's picture

FF Clan was a good suggestion, and is a good choice. Just track it looser (which however will throw off some "boundary condition" glyphs, like the "r"). One advantage of FF Clan is that it's generic enough that it will be easy to find a more texty companion for it.


johnbutler's picture

LTR Critter from Letterror.

buda's picture

Have started playing around with the coming up next screens. Have chosen FF Clan as my body text, as it is very legible even at small sizes.

This is what I have so far-



I have used the V from the logo to create the shape.

What's peoples opinions?

buda's picture

Anyone? Would be really good to get feedback :)

bemerx25's picture

The contrast between the white text and the blue could be improved. Perhaps also bump the opacity of the shape up to 80% (maybe even 85%) to knock out more of the background distractions. Right now the background is competing too much with the presented information. Just my 2 cents.

Jackson's picture


Jackson's picture

You should be spending more time looking at how things animate.

scannerlicker's picture

The "V" and "U" in the logo should go a bit below the baseline. Looks like they're floating.

As for the typeface that goes along with it, shouldn't it be less curvy? Does the typeface behaves well along with the logo on those "coming up next" screens?

Very interesting project, I'll keep an eye on this one.


daos's picture

'The “V” and “U” in the logo should go a bit below the baseline. Looks like they’re floating.'

lula, look around. it's one of many übertrendy generic block faces around at the moment. entirely geometric, not visually adjusted. yes they float, but they're (probably?) meant to..

regarding the original question, i think James Puckett summed it up in his post. it's really more about how you use it.

so the brief basically calls for 'original but mass-consumerist'. good luck.

riccard0's picture

it’s one of many übertrendy generic block faces around at the moment. entirely geometric, not visually adjusted. yes they float, but they’re (probably?) meant to

That doesn't mean that - when you make a logo - you don't need to compensate for the typeface's shortcomings.
But see the appropriate thread:

hrant's picture

Damian: If the lack of overshoot is intentional, that might be OK. Might be. But in the other thread James asked what overshoot was... He shouldn't become an unwitting victim of "carefree" type design.

BTW, the ends of the "bones" in your icon look like they're thinning out, because they haven't been optically adjusted.


scannerlicker's picture

daos: I have some strong doubts on it being intentional.

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