Sense & Sensibility

Nick Shinn's picture


SENSE & SENSIBILITY
Shinntype sans serif super-family

Sense & Sensibility specimen (pdf)

Artist Statement
Over time, many of the functors of page layout have become formalized within the concept of typeface as morphic categories, categories being the semantic building blocks of perception at the level of both individual physiology and social production. 

First size, then case, skew, weight, horizontal scale, serifization and grading have evolved as the axes about which type families may be configured. To these Nick Shinn has added a cultural axis, with modern (Sense: minimalist) and old style (Sensibility: humanist) posited as the poles of the sans serif genre.

Designer Statement
Shinntype’s Sense and Sensibility comprise a super-family of two large x-height, semi-condensed, contrasting styles of roman with italic, sharing stem widths, vertical metrics, and approximate horizontal scale. There are eight weights, with alternate figures and identical tab figure width across all 32 fonts.
Ascenders are taller than capitals, and descenders quite short. This, along with compact horizontal proportions and exemplary fit, provides an assertive presence in headlines and accommodates tight leading in text.

Manufacturer Statement
Sense and Sensibility are the new go-to types with the big look and all the weights. Compact, elegant and strong, they command any page -- from the largest headline to the smallest text, for corporate, publishing and advertising work.
Copy fit is almost identical between Sense and Sensibility, and between roman and italic. This means that faces may be switched in a layout, or combined, to subtly change flavor without re-formatting -- use this feature to offer clients two options with very little effort, facilitating sign-off.
Sense and Sensibility have full European Latin coverage for 40+ languages, and are competitively priced -- the family packages offer exceptional value at $149 each, and the super-family of all 32 fonts is only $249, a per-font cost of $7.78!
Available from Faces, Fonthaus, Fonts.com, FontShop, FontSpring, Fontworks, Linotype, MyFonts, Paratype, Phil’s Fonts, Veer, and YouWorkForThem.

About Shinntype
Shinntype was founded in 1999 to market Nick Shinn's type designs. Shinn’s background as an artist, writer, art director and graphic designer informs his eclectic type designs, which run the gamut from revivals to experimental work exploring new technology, and are used in everything from packaging and advertising to internet, book, magazine, and newspaper publishing, around the world. He has produced many retail fonts, including the casual classic Fontesque, the unicase-monowidth type Panoptica, and the OpenType script face Handsome Pro, as well as commissioned work for corporations and publications such as Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, for which Sense and Sensibility were originally designed.

Kristians Sics's picture

Wonderful typeface, congratulations!
In your specimen pdf there are problems in Latvian - you should take the text in unicode. This is an old codepage from early nineties to type in Windows. In the beginnings of the computer era there were codepage wars in the language spoken by a bit more than a million. One codepage foe windows, the other for mac, the third one for Russian speakers who sometimes needed to type something in Latvian. The only way to change them were by find and replace.

VISPĀRĒJĀ CILVĒKA TIESĪBU DEKLARĀCIJA
Preambula
Ievērojot, ka visiem cilvēku sabiedrības locekļiem piemītošās
pašcieņas un viņu vienlīdzīgu un neatņemamu tiesību atzīšana
ir brīvības, taisnīguma un vispārēja miera pamats, un
Ievērojot, ka cilvēku tiesību necienīšana un nicināšana
noved pie barbariskiem aktiem, kas izraisa sašutumu cilvēces
apziņā, un ka tādas pasaules radīšana pasludināta kā cilvēku
augstākie centieni, kurā cilvēkiem būs vārda un pārliecības
brīvība un tie būs brīvi no bailēm un trūkuma, un
Ievērojot, ka nepieciešams, lai cilvēka tiesības aizsargātu
likuma spēks un cilvēks nebūtu spiests izmantot kâ pēdējo

Charles_borges_de_oliveira's picture

Thats is really nice NIck. It has a nice rhythm to it.

Nick Shinn's picture

Thanks Kristians, Charles.
I copied the Latvian text off the UN web site in 2007, IIRC, when I started using the UN Declaration for specimens, but have not updated it since.

dezcom's picture

Great work, Nick! It is a softer, warmer sans that gives a more spoken tone to the message.

ChrisL

eliason's picture

Congrats and good luck Nick!

nora g's picture

Congrats to this super-family! A very good one.

rolandstieger's picture

Beautiful typeface!

blank's picture

You just managed to get mentioned to my students twice in one day (the first time for Scotch Modern)! I was wondering when you were going to get around to announcing this since I saw it on Veer.com. It’s an impressive family and I would love to see it take off in that big market of companies that can’t handle Whitney but need something fresh and interesting to replace Helvetica/Frutiger/etc..

I copied the Latvian text off the UN web site in 2007, IIRC, when I started using the UN Declaration for specimens, but have not updated it since.

I have had several people point out serious problems in the text of the non-English versions of the UN Declaration of Human Rights since I started using it.

akos.polgardi's picture

Congratulations, it's a lovely typeface.

marcox's picture

Love the Artist, Designer and Manufacturer statements! An eloquent way of acknowledging the divergent impulses that drove the design.

paulow's picture

Congratulations, Nick. I have a parallel curiosity. How much time did take to make the extensive pdf brochure?

Queneau's picture

I loved Sensibility as soon as I saw it. And have been very happy with it. It is very versatile, readable and friendly. Thanks Nick for this great face!

1996type's picture

I loved this ever since I saw it in a different thread on typophile. Sensibility is the very first typeface to put true humanist characteristics in a sans-serif, without making it look out of balance. Amazing!

sim's picture

Congratulations Nick. Wonderful typefaces!

Jos Buivenga's picture

Nice work, Nick. Congrats on the release!

ncaleffi's picture

This is superb stuff. I can easily see the Sensibility family featured in an illustrated book for children, printed on quality non coated paper. I also wonder why you didn't draw the small caps - perhaps not appropriate for a sans?

Nick Shinn's picture

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

Paulo, it took several days (not all at the same time), but:

- I have used a lot of similar material in previous PDFs, so it is something of a cumulative, aggregate work.
- It is very useful as a quality-check of the fonts.

This was originally a newspaper face, and I can also see it being used in corporate or marketing work, but not so much for books and journals that use small caps, on account of the large x-height and short descenders. The caps are quite small already. So the extra work I put into it before general release was devoted to adding the Black weight, and extending language coverage. The only substantial OpenType feature is alternate figures, and a few extra pre-composed fractions.

Nick Job's picture

Inspiring work, as usual.

piccic's picture

Hmm… Nick, would you have designed them, if not for the commission?
I mean, outside a strictly commercial logic, which is fine as well, but I am just curious.

They feel… strange. Coming from you, of course… :-)

Robert Trogman's picture

You have become a legend!

Nick Shinn's picture

In my own mind, at least :-)

Nick, would you have designed them, if not for the commission?

No. The plain-and-fancy-sans concept was David Pratt's (who comissioned the types), which he saw in Ricardo Santos' Lisboa, and I developed to the specific needs of the Globe's redesign format. I had explored the super-family idea previously, in Eunoia and Panoptica, but in a quite different way.

I don't know about "strictly commercial logic": so far in a month of release at MyFonts, Sensibility is doing quite well, but no one has licensed Sense! I would never have anticipated that, and would have expected Sense to be the more "commercial" face. That's only one month at one distributor, but it goes to show.

quadibloc's picture

Well, except for the missed opportunity to be remembered for the next hundred years as the designer of Globe New Roman, I'd say you're doing well. Actually, since the Globe and Mail's new look is using faces designed by you, even if not ones specifically designed for the Globe and Mail, perhaps it is still possible...

After visiting your web site, I noted with a shock that you had custom fonts there named Globe and Mail News, Globe and Mail Sans, and Globe and Mail Text. And so I thought I was mistaken, although I was sure I saw in the thread the face of yours they were now using specifically named - and it wasn't one of those. However, looking a bit harder cleared up the mystery - those three faces were commissioned for its previous redesign, which was also your doing.

Worldwide is, of course, just a tad too condensed in order to provide something different in its overall appearance from other faces that are easily available (i.e. Century Expanded, Times Roman). And then there's Williams Caslon Text by another designer here. And there's the Starlng revival.

Who will design the new typeface that will dethrone Times Roman, becoming the ubiquitous text typeface for the 21st Century? (Could Georgia be a candidate for this honor?)

Of course, maybe that honor isn't up for grabs - or we'd already be drowning in Palatino.

Nick Shinn's picture

...the designer of Globe New Roman...

Goudy took the Globe name a while ago.

...since the Globe and Mail's new look is using faces designed by you, even if not ones specifically designed for the Globe and Mail...

No, they were. The Globe has exclusivity for a few years, then I may release the fonts commercially. It's a common arrangement.

Queneau's picture

Hello Nick,

I licensed Sensibility. But I was first drawn in by Sense. But when I came to compare the two, there were some characters in Sense that I did not like so much, such as the spurless lowercase 'b', the lowercase 't' and 'u', and the uppercase Q, which in the black wheights becomes a little too fat, imho. These characters, plus the fact that I really liked the Sensibility italic, made me go for Sensibility.

I had one question considering the spacing: I think it sets very tight, so tight I might even consider spacing it out for longer texts. This is of course very economical, which is useful for a news face, but I wondered if it isn't more suitable for display than for text.

5star's picture

I'm really diggin' Sense. That cap C is almost exactly what I've been looking for (although it may not be as robust as I still have in mind). I'm creating the identity for a new national chess org. here in Canada and was having a difficult time finding the right family.

Sense just might do :)

piccic's picture

Of course, a "strictly commercial logic" is a definition which has a large range of interpretations, but I meant a typeface designed with the commercial aspect as its priority, and all the others subsided to it.
Since it‘s commissioned by a publisher, it seems to me it may have suffered from a bigger pressure in terms of development time, and some constraints dictated by its intended usage. Mostly, I was thinking about your developed general criticism towards standardization, which these typefaces seem to escape.
My thoughts, mostly, nothing so rationalized.

I think the main reason for which Sense is staying behind is that you have mixed its influences (the forms "skeletons") without a 100% of success in their integration. More or less like different traditions and cultures in the United States in the last 100+ years… :-)

Said this, I have been happy to use Duffy Script and Goodchild, which I managed to have licensed by my "boss", and I think Goodchild should be remastered with small capitals and a good basic Opentype functionality. Duffy is a little messy in Opentype terms, but it’s one of your best faces with Oneleigh, Richler and Panoptica (the serif version). I would really love to have Richler on sale, but I understand it is exclusively licensed…

piccic's picture

Ah, and I forgot Preface, which you (so nicely) gave me back then in advance to test, but never had the opportunity to use for a personal work. I still like it.

Nick Shinn's picture

...there were some characters in Sense that I did not like so much, such as the spurless lowercase 'b', the lowercase 't' and 'u'...

Those minimal forms are taken from Futura.
I chickened out on the dead straight "J"s, though!

...it sets very tight, so tight I might even consider spacing it out for longer texts. This is of course very economical, which is useful for a news face, but I wondered if it isn't more suitable for display than for text.

Yes, Sense and Sensibility are semi-condensed (like Myriad) and tightly fitted (like Helvetica), and the Regular is on the heavy side (like Gill). So they're quite the opposite of Verdana. But that's their personality. I would certainly consider experimenting with how you set them in text, or whatever genre. Despite their density, they seemed to work quite well for text in the Globe, where they also picked up a fair amount of press gain. Not for huge tracts of text, more for captions, decks and sidebars -- but I don't believe that suitability for extended immersive reading is the be-all and end-all criteria for text setting, certainly not for a sans serif.

Sensibility does have some openness introduced by the tails on a, d, l and u.

...it may have suffered from a bigger pressure in terms of development time, and some constraints dictated by its intended usage.

There was plenty of development time, fortunately. And constraints are useful in helping define functionality and usefulness. Erik Spiekermann takes this position too, IIRC. However, I wouldn't like to work with constraints all the time, and I'm fortunate to be able to do both commissioned work, and "unconstrained" retail projects -- self-publishing, which would be termed Vanity Press if I were an author.

Sye's picture

Nice work Nick! Congrats!

paragraph's picture

Beautiful and clever, Nick.

Richard Fink's picture

Nice nice, Nick.
These look like they'd work really well onscreen, too. Friendly.
Good luck.

rich

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