Space saving Sans...

designalchemy's picture

I need to find a font, that is very space saving (short ascenders and decenders). I imagine something like a font designed for phone books. Must be a Sans. any suggestions?

hrant's picture

1) Is it for paragraphs or single lines?
2) How ugly can it be?


designalchemy's picture

I am setting text for a 12 page fiction piece. Back ground is dark blue, text is white. I have been using Gills Sans Book and Book Italic and have done all I can to save space with spacing, etc..
Here is screenshot of current layout. to answer your question-can it be ugly, well I already think Gill Sans is kind of ugly so I suppose this question is relative.
I bought a condensed version of Clearview today, thinking it may work but in is even less space saving than Gills Sans.
I have tried to reduce size from 8pt to 7.6 and this only helps a tiny bit.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Wow. Is the objective to get rid of all but the most dedicated readers who desperately want to read this? Make it as hard to read as possible?

This text suffers from two problems for ease of reading extended text. It's reversed, and the point size is small. Combining those two problems along with making it twelve pages will make it very challenging indeed. It's not that readers can't read it, but rather that they won't want to bother.

Unless of course the pages are only maybe 3" x 4" or something, and the total word count is only a couple of hundred words. Then it will be challenging and weird, but not totally crazy.



errata's picture

You could try a multiple master font and change the horizontal axis to suit. Myriad MM perhaps?

Never used MM's myself. Anyone out there got anything good to say about them?

dan's picture

Ole, set one page, go back to the client and show them the horror of it and get them to spring for another signature or two. Its only paper. I agree with Thomas, don't KO that much copy, its a real no no for long text.

hrant's picture

How can you guys see any image? I'm on IE on Windows and see nothing.

Ole, although the white-on-navy scheme doesn't raise a big red flag in my view, the rest does seem hairy. Gill I actually find ugly too, but Clearview is certainly not space-saving, quite the contrary - it likes it airy. Try looking for a wide* font with a large x-height, a bit dark, and I guess stylish - this last bit will be hard though. I guess you want a sans? I just read (on the ATypI list) that there's a special version of Fedra for use by Collins dictionaries; that would be both economical and attractive, but only the Serif might have that special cut - and it might be proprietary.

* This actually helps apparent size while saving line height (by using a smaller point size). Unless you have very few linebreaks, then narrowness (at a larger point size) might make more sense.


Stefan H's picture


I can't see any images either? But I've followed this thread with rising interest. Seem a bit like "Mission impossible", but you might find Stalemate suitable for this project? It was made to fit both for the web and in print, It's slightly condenced and therefor saving some space. Great care have been taken though, to perserve the "white inner spaces" of each letter. Also the big contrast in the weights (light, medium and black) could work nicely together sometimes.

You'll find Stalemate here:

Good luck anyway, cheers

.00's picture


Clearview Compressed is much narrower than the Condensed. Why not send me a paragragh or two with specs and I'll make a sample for you.

dan_reynolds's picture

How about Vialog?

dan_reynolds's picture

Sorry everyone who reads these posts via e-mail

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