New Release: Soleil

typetogether's picture

Soleil, designed by Wolfgang Homola, is a geometric sans serif typeface. Unlike most existing geometric sans serif typefaces, it has asymmetrical counters, making it look fresher, more dynamic and more contemporary. Simple geometric forms – such as the circle or the square – played a certain role in the design of the letterforms, but in order to introduce more fluidity into the rather stiff and rigid concept of geometric sans serif typefaces, a lot of optical corrections were necessary.
Soleil is based on the modernist ideas of simplicity, clarity and reduction to essential forms. Yet its letter shapes are not the result of geometric construction, but of a design process that brings together simplicity and fluidity, clarity and rhythm.
Soleil has a rather large x-height, making it legible also in small sizes or from a bigger distance. The typeface family consists of six weights.
The Opentype version also allows for the implementation of typographic features such as Small Caps, lining and old-style figures, both tabular and proportional, ligatures, alternate characters, case-sensitive variants and fractions.
Soleil offers a wide range of potential applications: signage and wayfinding systems, book and magazine design, branding and corporate publications.

more information at:

dhannah1000's picture

Wow! it has characteristics of Avenir!

Andreas Stötzner's picture

yes and of Gotham … – ?

The ornaments are very nice.

hrant's picture

Nice to see somebody finally adopting the great ampersand form from Triplex Italic.


Nick Shinn's picture

Unlike most existing geometric sans serif typefaces, it has asymmetrical counters, making it look fresher, more dynamic and more contemporary.

Asymmetric counters in a geometric sans are a characteristic of Proxima Sans/Nova, published in 1995/2005.
In fact, they are primarily what distinguish it from the later Gotham (2002), which has symmetric counters.
Those are the two types which IMHO define the contemporary era, so I wouldn’t say that the symmetry of counters in a geometric face is an issue of freshness, dynamism, or contemporariness.

hrant's picture

BTW, don't use JPEG for type specimens - GIF/PNG is much better.


Nick Shinn's picture

Given the success of Proxima and Brandon, it could be argued that a new geometric sans with asymmetric counters is not fresh and different, but following the leader. This is not to deny that Soleil is an excellent new face with a distinctive personality, but I don’t think that its asymmetric counters alone can be considered a marketing point-of-difference.

At this stage of the game, with so many foundries publishing faces of subtle distinction, descriptive text beyond “it’s a geometric sans with a little bit of the rigidity taken off” doesn’t add much—although a certain amount of typespeak does give the impression that a type is important.

I find the lower case “t” to be the signature glyph.

wolfgang_homola's picture

Hi, I am the designer of this typeface.
I am not very familiar with Gotham and its development, but I think if there are similarities it is because both are based on the same source: lettering in architecture.

Soleil was initially designed for a signage and wayfinding system.
(For those of you who were at ATypI Mexico in 2009 or at the ICTVC conference 2010 in Cyprus and saw my lecture: sorry that I repeat here the same old stuff.) This signage and wayfinding system was developed in 2007 by Bohatsch and Partners in Vienna
I was part of the design team for this signage and wayfinding system (together with Walter Bohatsch, Andreas Soller and Julia Krauth), and I also designed the typeface for the signage system (which would later become Soleil).

The brief for the signage and wayfinding system asked to integrate the original metal letters used in the building (a 1950ies modernist building) into the new signage and wayfinding system, and so we proposed to design a new typeface for it, because none of the then existing typefaces matched exactly the shapes of the original metal letters (which were upper case only) used in the staircase of building.

When I did the usual test prints, I was surprised that it worked quite well also for longer texts, and so I decided to release it. So that's the story behind this typeface. For a more detailed account: There is also an article about this project and the design process that led to Soleil in TYPO magazine no 41, 2010, pp 52-57

I tried to upload some pictures that illustrate what I wrote, but it seems there are some problems with uploading right now ...
However, here is a link where you can see these pictures:

Nick Shinn's picture

That's interesting, I'm surprised it’s not mentioned by the foundry.

I did a similar project with students at Humber College in Toronto.
I asked them to digitize the typeface used in the Toronto Transit System subway (underground), designed in the 1950s, modernist, all caps, and design a companion lower case. But we didn't get any further than the one weight, roman.

Something similar that I had created earlier was my Figgins revival, which developed a sans family from a single-weight bold all caps font.

I would almost call this genre (if such a thing it be) “historical fiction”, were it not for the fact that the original source material is followed quite closely and included in the much larger end product. Is “speculative revival” an appropriate term?

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