Classification for FF Blur?

dbonneville's picture

Beside the obvious sans category, what classification would best suit FF Blur? Contemporary or "ambiguous" are all I can come up with. I'm working on list, and have not used "contemporary" yet, and don't want to. "Ambiguous" would not really be a classification, but more a lack thereof.

How 'bout: Blurry Neo-Grotesque?

Thanks!

Nick Shinn's picture

It's merely (neo-)grotesque.
Different variants within the same type family, such as outline and shaded, are not classed as different typefaces, so why should blurred/rounded be?

Neville Brody originally created this style by sandwiching sheets of clear acetate between negative type image and positive film, for an out-of-focus contact print. That's mentioned in the Graphic Language book.

dbonneville's picture

You have "neo" bracketed. If it's based on Helvetica, it would formally be neo-grotesque, correct?

blank's picture

You have "neo" bracketed. If it's based on Helvetica, it would formally be neo-grotesque, correct?

Neo-grotesque is a phony category invented to inflate the perceived importance of 1950s/60s modernism, aka Swiss modernism or the International Style. But none of the original neo-grotesque families really does anything new stylistically; regimented grots/gothics with horizontal terminals date back to the nineteenth century and ATF had produced excellent examples in the early twentieth. The careful planning of the entire Univers family is really the important feature of the neo-grotesques and is not a stylistic feature. For the sake of honest design history the entire notion of the neo-grotesque category needs to be swept into the gutter.

dbonneville's picture

"For the sake of honest design history the entire notion of the neo-grotesque category needs to be swept into the gutter."

That is the most sensible thing I've read so far about this. In a sense then, you can't really produce a new neo-grotesque. It seems like the term was the "contemporary" classification of the 50's-60's for sans-serif designs, and now makes much less sense 50 years later. If it's not a formally differentiated style, then "neo" is really anachronistic, correct?

blank's picture

If it's not a formally differentiated style, then "neo" is really anachronistic, correct?

It’s anachronistic in that overemphasizing the International Style is (slowly) becoming an anachronism.

dbonneville's picture

Good stuff. Thanks!

Nick Shinn's picture

Distressing is a category of style (bold and italic are others) which may be applied to many traditional categories of type.

FontShop lists eight cross-categories of "Distressed".

Perhaps if it is done with a generic provenance (such as Blur), the result may be considered a new typeface, rather than a variant of an existing one (e.g. Metallophile, clearly a Futura family member).

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Anything distressed is Display (as opposite of working type).

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