Sensato 2.0 (Sensato A updated.)

1996type's picture

Hello everybody,

Sensato Serif can be viewed here:

This is Sensato. Derived from 'Sensational'. It's purpose is to create a highly legible sans-serif with a diagonal stress and work just as well for display purposes. Although this is not included in the pdf yet, the jpg picture below shows the different grades I designed for optical adaption to different sizes. As soon as the Caps are also done in both grades (the two extremes) the pdf will be updated. All comments are much appreciated.

Jasper de Waard

update 2.0: 4 Different grades. Only lowercase for now.
update Sensato A: Lower contrast, more organic features, better stem treatment, smaller terminals, new sample text.


4 grades.jpg423.45 KB
SensatoA.pdf34.78 KB
1996type's picture

It is known that Dutch people are not really proud of their country. A lot Dutch people (including me) don't even know the national anthem. Dutch is also a really hard language to pronounce for foreigners, so Dutch names are often not very functional. What do you mean by Dutchness? I wasn't really aware of that. I've never really studied the history of type in different countries. I must say, after I found out the meaning of 'Sensato' in a few languages, I'm convinced it's a good name. Your welcome to submit a Dutch name if you want to, but I'll probably stick with Sensato. at least for now.

Igor Freiberger's picture

It is known that Dutch people are not really proud of their country.

I'm surprised to know that. In South America your country has a very reputable image. Nederland is known as an organized, liberal and highly developed country, with an outstanding living quality and education. Your long tradition in graphic design is also widely referred – a Dutch landmark besides tulipes, bicycles, art and the dikes. Not to mention WIC and the magic '74 soccer team.

For many Brazilians, the Dutch defeat in Pernambuco, in 1654, was a pitty. They claim that to be a Dutch colony would have resulted in a much better Brazil. Although this is just a historic speculation, there is no doubt Nassau's administration was a golden age in colonial Pernambuco, with many valuable heritge. BTW, the first type tools in South America were brought by the Dutchmen circa 1637.

Well, after this off-topic comment, let me add there is a number of recent releases named with words from the designer mother tongue (Tisa, Alegria and Despeinada are samples). So, except if you adopt something dificult like verantwoordelijk, a Dutch name would work. Anyway, Sensato is also good. Due to its Latin origin, it's easily recognizable as something related to sense in many languages.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Jasper is a really young guy… Believe me (as a Dutchman three times his age) that the average Dutchman and –woman are quite proud of their country!

The Brazilian link Freiberger mentions is one example of the extensive influence of the Low Countries during the period that was our ‘Golden Age’, a period when the Dutch ruled the world of commerce, applied science, seafaring and warfaring (Prince Maurits reintroduced classic concepts of drilling and coordinated movements on the battlefield).

And on a somewhat more type-related stance: in the same period the Dutch were the publishers of the free-thinking world: a place where the most advanced thinkers of that time could evade the all-pervading censorship in countries like France, Great-Britain etcetera by having their works published in Leiden, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Utrecht.

Required reading matter: Simon Schama's ‘The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age’ (1987) and Jonathan Israel’s ‘The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness and Fall, 1477-1806’ (1995).

1996type's picture

As you might have seen I uploaded update 5. Underneath is the first draft for the serif. So far I have only designed the letters shown underneath, but thanks to the (already) diagonal stress it's quite easy to turn it into a serif. My original idea (timewise) was to completely design and release the Sans first, and finish and release the Serif later. Would it not be better to release them both at the same time? Hope you like it.

Cheers, Jasper

cdavidson's picture


Have you tried adding a descending serif to the top of the lowercase 'a' in the serif version of your font? I'd also be interested to see what it looks like with serifs on the 's' and the 'c'. Perhaps it's just my screen but it also looks like the legs of the 'n' and the 'm' grow thicker as they descend to the serifs (as opposed to the 'n' and the 'm' in the sans version, which appear to have the same width all the way through). But as I say, maybe it's my screen.

In regard to naming, I'm quite a fan of the idea of naming fonts after towns that have had a particular impact on me or the font. Somehow I don't think it looks like a 'Rotterdam', but maybe there's another town that has had an impact on you personally? Even though those who don't know Dutch may struggle (toss a 'G' or an 'IJ' in there for good measure, or perhaps a double-vowel), it may form part of the charm!

Frode Bo Helland's picture

You based your sans on removing the serifs from Garamond, and now you're adding them again?

1996type's picture

Haha yes frode I am. However, Sensato has gone through so many changes that it's impossible to find even a little piece that is still the same as in Garamond, so I'm confident that the serif has enough character of his own.

Thanks Caled. I have already made quite a few changes including serifs on a and s (c terminal is still the same). You're right about the legs, they do grow thicker as they go downward, but I don't see the porblem with this. The serifs are, again, loosely based on Garamond.

I will upload Sensato Serif in the serif critique section today or tomorrow.

Cheers, Jasper.

Trevor Baum's picture

Nice work! I feel like the ear on the g is the slightest bit too long though. Have you tried reducing its length?

1996type's picture

Thanks Trevor. Yes, you could well be right about the g. However, I will only make a decision on this after I have made some proper testprints. I will get a good laserprinter tomorrow, so I'll be able to judge it properly then.

1996type's picture

Sensato Serif is in the Serif section. A new bookface has arived! Only lowercase for now.

Cheers, Jasper

1996type's picture

I changed the colour of Sensato according to the serif and made a number of other small changes. The Caps are unchanged yet, hop to include them in the next update. Sensato Black wis also being worked on :D Hope this is an improvement!

Cheers, Jasper

JoergGustafs's picture

Amazing stuff, Jasper!

1996type's picture

Thanks Joerg, thats a quick response! So, I guess the lighter colour in the Sans works? It should at least make it more interesting at Display sizes.

Nick Job's picture

Hi, Jasper. Don't over-engineer this. I'm not a fan of the micro-curves (corner softening) that you have introduced into the lower case. I think your shapes may have peaked already before the addition of these tiny curves. You may feel the characters are not interesting enough without this softening but I feel you may have gone a bit gimmicky for no good reason. If, on the other hand, you are resorting to micro detailing to give differentiation from other fonts, your basic concept may be at fault. However, I happen to believe the concept is strong, as you know. I'd love to see some more characters; diacritics, lining numerals, that kind of thing. Cheers.

1996type's picture

Yes, I was starting to think the same. How do you feel about the higher contrast? I will soon also update the Black. Cheers!

Nick Job's picture

When you say higher contrast, have you thinned the horizontals? The whole thing is a little bit lighter all over, right? If you build a multiple master you won't have to redraw everything, you'll just have to select an 'instance' that suits you relative to the serif version. Question, do you want the same blackness to each corresponding weight in sans and serif?

1996type's picture

It is a bit lighter al over, yes, I thinned all verticals. I know it's not the most efficient way, but I prefer to redraw everything, because I always catch a few issues on the way. I do want the weights to have the same blackness. However, I won't be able to go as far with the serif as I can with the Sans. So the darkest in the Serif will propably be extrabold, while the sans goes up to Black.

I uploaded an update above, without the soft edges, with adjusted Caps (contrast same as lowercase now). The B is completely redrawn.

Furthermore I just updated the serif. I also removed the soft edges there, making it a more centro/calluna like font. I think it's a huge improvement, hop you agree! Still no caps there though.

I'm also working on the Black Caps, so expect an update (serif or sans black) soon. Cheers!

eliason's picture

I think the ear on /g/ isn't quite there. Its relationship to the upper bowl seems inorganic; and/or maybe it's just too long, as Trevor suggested earlier.

1996type's picture

Yes, you're right. However, if I make it any smaller it'll just become an ugly thingie at text size. Working on it =D

1996type's picture


Nick Job's picture

As far as contrast is concerned, I like the numerals, esp. /zero/ for contrast (you may not have changed that! I think you've gone too thin on the horizontals so it now looks to me more like a serif with the serifs removed and less like a sans.

I'm not a massive fan of the thinning stems on the /d/, /m/, /n/, /p/, /r/, /u/. Not sure you've nailed that yet.

Upper terminal on /c/ too thick, lower terminal too thin. This will impact /a/, /e/, /f/, /s/. I wonder if final strokes on /c/ and /e/ need to be slightly more open.

I think Craig's right about that /g/. Should the ear be more tapered (outwards) to echo the /c/? It could even take more of a lead from the arm of the /r/. The bottom bowl of the /g/ looks very pointy at the easternmost extremum.

/v/ still looks a smidge too wide next to /u/.

I still cannot get used to the tapered letters /k/, /v/, /w/. Did I mention that?

There are a number of spacing issues but that warrants a separate post They were less obvious when Sensato was looser.

1996type's picture

The contrast is an important factor for the look of a typeface. After a couple of years I came to the conlusion that my style is somewhat stiff, arrogant, yet elegant. Like a bitchy model. Contrast is mostly just a matter of taste, and I like it the way it is now. It looks more elegant and better for display use now. However, do not fear, the old contrast is too good to throw away, so I think I'll just make a different typeface out of it in the future. You're right that I didn't change the contrast in /zero/.

"I'm not a massive fan of the thinning stems on the /d/, /m/, /n/, /p/, /r/, /u/. Not sure you've nailed that yet."
Yes, that certainly deserves a revision. Since I started on the serif it bothered me.

You're probably also right about the terminals.

Have you seen the pict of the g above. Does that look any better?

Yes, now that you say so, v is too wide indeed.

I'll try to 'detaper' the tapered letters.

The spacing is all inDesign's optical function, which isn't perfect.


1996type's picture

Uploaded an update. I think I fixed most of the issues you pointed out Nick, let me know if I'm wrong. The g is still a bit pointy, but I quite like it this way. Cheers.

Nick Job's picture

Hi Jasper, part of the charm of the original Sensato was the pointiness. The chamfered terminals seem to work against that. I just think the terminals were a little bulky. I don't think the cuts you have made are working. Worth trying though.

Thought I'd get a bit more detailed on feedback again, hope you don't mind.

/a/ wonder if the overhang top left is too much. Lower junction with stem is light next to upper junction of /b/.

/b/ lower junction of /b/ is very black. Upper junction is good.

/c/ if you take the upper extremum of the inside curve out towards the next point up from the one it currently goes to the inside curve will be a whole lot nicer even if the terminal is a lot lighter.

/d/ see /b/ for blackness at junction. I think making the angle on the stems more vertical and the angle of the base of the stem more horizontal may help (and give it slightly more thickness which I think it may need.

/e/ leans forward whereas /c/ leans back a little. I may be imagining that!

/f/ love the angles involved in the crossbar.

/g/ ear much improved, agreed Craig? Could still go a touck deeper.

/h/ was always strong.

/i/ tittle very slightly heavy.

/j/ see /i/ for tittle comment. Would the tail coming less far to the left help with a slightly gentler curve?

/k/ overflaring.

/m/ see /d/ stem comment applies.

/n/ strong like /h/ but /d/ stem comment applies.

/o/ good.

/p/ see /d/. /q/ see /b/

/r/ see /d/ re stems. Ear/arm beautiful.

/s/ see /c/ for comment about terminals (and initial paragraph of this post).

/t/ top leans forward a touch too much.

/u/ see /n/

/v/ width better now. very slight overflaring (I know you want some flare).

/w/ strokes 1 and 3 could be darker/thicker.

/x/ and /y/ good.

/z/ top horizontal touch thin (maybe bottom horizontal too thin too). You want optically equal, right?

/A/ overflaring (am I boring you?)

/B/ interesting curves. Bottom left corner too thick on horizontal stroke. Looks heavier to me than /A/

/C/ see /c/

/D/ see /B/ for bottom left comment.

/E/ arms thin (like /z/) especially compared to horizontals of /B/ and /D/. I thin the problem is the /D/ and /B/, not the /E/.

/F/ see /E/ on arms. Lower arm could stand going south a touch.

/G/ would make the final upward stroke cut off horizontally rather than angular which doesn't appear elsewhere in the upper case.

/H/, /I/ fine.

/J/ see /j/ re sweep of the curve.

/K/ see /k/

/L/ fine.

/M/ great, any reason why the central apex doesn't quite reach the floor (that comment may apply to the /w/ and /W/ too.

/N/ right foot causing me trouble (as /G/)

/O/ fine.

/P/ not quite getting it but can't put my finger on it.

/Q/ fine.

/R/ does the central portion need to echo /B/ more or vice versa?

/S/ see /s/

/T/ good.

/U/ could be a touch wider?

/V/ see /v/

/W/ see /w/ but only on stroke 3.

/X/ and /Y/ fine.

/Z/ leaning backwards compared to /z/.


eliason's picture

Yes I agree the /g/ ear is better.
Nick's eye is excellent so take his generous advice to heart!

To me, the glyph in need of most work now is definitely /B/. Look at some other /B/s and maybe consider a fresh start. And after that some other curved caps: /D/G/R/. And I guess /S/ falls rightward and /C/ may be too thick at its thickest, so maybe its "all curved caps"!

As for the chamfering, it adds a bit of refinement at display sizes but doesn't help -- maybe in fact hurts -- at text sizes, I think.

Nick Job's picture

>>>Nick's eye is excellent...

Now who's being generous? There's a thread about myopia somewhere where I confess how blind I actually am! I think it was to do with which of one's eyes is dominant (which may or may not affect one's ability to design balanced glyphs). Remember that one? Have considered laser treatment for short-sightedness but not an option currently! I just realised that my right eye is dominant but more myopic, am I normal? I digress.

Keep going, Jasper. Accents?

InD doesn't do a bad auto-job on spacing but I'm confident you could do a better one!


1996type's picture

@Nick: "Hope you don't mind" The more, the better! I'm working on it right now.
@eliason: I quite like the new B. Is it the way the two bowls join that bothers you, or something else?

eliason's picture

Is it the way the two bowls join that bothers you, or something else?

Yes, that especially but also the thickening at the southwest corner. I feel like the outer contour of the letter makes sense but the counterspaces are unhappy.

Of course, it's just an opinion and you are free to take it or leave it! :-)

1996type's picture

Above is another update. After much testing I haven't changed much, but I think the texture is just a little step closer to perfection. I read both of your critique carefully and tried out all your suggestions, but quite often I found that the previous version wasn't far off. I guess, that the further I get into the design process, the more stubborn I'll get. Hope that doesn't stop you from commenting on my work ;-D. Eventhough I didn't change much I hope you can see the improvements I made.


1996type's picture

It's been a while, but here's another update. With some major new things included. The pdf remains unchanged, but have a look at the jpg pict to see what I've been doing all this time ;-P. As soon as I also have the caps sorted out I'll update the pdf. After that I'm moving on to the Black, extend the character set in all styles, and work on Sensato Serif now and then on the way. A very fun schedule as you can see! Hope you enjoy the update and any critique is, as always, much appreciated. Cheers!

Nick Job's picture

Your four grades are looking nice.

I would be wary of marketing them as different grades when the time comes. The top one (I'm guessing the grade for very small sizes) works equally well at large sizes. The last thing you want to do is limit sales by putting an unhelpful cue that the top one should only be used at small sizes, which for me is nonsense as it's the nicest one in my book.

Not sure if you need four grades or whether three or even two are enough (as in simply text v display).

Still don't understand your terminal (a,c,f,r,s) or stem (d,m,n,p,r) treatment!

Are you aware of the National Trust font family? That has display variants. This website has a registration especially for students/journalists.


1996type's picture

Thanks Nick. I'm working on a grade with even lower contrast. I plan to just call the Sensato A, Sensato B, Sensato C, etc. I totally agree that it would be wrong to call them grades or optical sizes, but for now grades will do.

The difference between the four grades is indeed quite small. I'll have to review this after I've finished the new grade.

In the first grade the terminals on a c f r s do look slightly to large to me now, be the high contrast one really needs big terminals. The small chamfered part in the terminals has to stay. When I compare it with/without that part the choice is quite obvious to me. Might be a personal thing, but it's just the way it is.

Does the stem treatment in d m n p r look far off to you? I think I'll try to just keep it straight, comparable to Nota.

1996type's picture

How do you like this? Looks like an improvement to me. The contrast in the terminals on c and a is smaller and the stem treatment in n is totally redesigned. Offcoarse this has to be continued in similar glyphs, but it should give you some idea.

Nick Job's picture

Yes, these stems are an improvement to my mind. What I think I didn't much like was the fact that the outside contour curved whereas the inside contour was dead straight with a noticeable kink due to the ink trap. This is certainly better but it has to work for you.
The junction becomes a challenge in heavier weights and some thinning of the stems may help the colour around the junction.

1996type's picture

Wow! I must say that after I changed the stem treatment and the terminals as you suggested it looks WAY better. I don't know why I failed to see you were right all along, but anyway, I've seen the light! Above is a pdf of Sensato A, the lowest contrast version of Sensato. Hope you like it as much as I do. Cheers! BTW: I'm currently in a holiday period, so you can expect some more updates soon as I'll have much more time to work on Sensato. Just wanted to say that all you typophiles in this thread, and specially you Nick, did a great job in showing me my mistakes. This typeface would have never been where it is now without you guys. Once again, thanks A LOT.

Expletus Sans will finally be released in the Google Web Font Directory in 1-2 weeks from now, so keep an eye on the release section on typophile!

Jasper =D

1996type's picture

Ohh, forgot something. The Uppercase in Sensato A are still from Sensato B, so focus on the lowercase for now.

Nick Job's picture

New pdf doesn't seem to be there?

1996type's picture

Oops. It is now.

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