Experimental sans serifs

Alexey Golev's picture

Dear all,
There is a certain trend that I've noticed looking through design blogs, so called, experimental sans serifs. I noticed certain similarities in the glyphs of those typefaces and, although I can see some roots in scandinavian runes and art deco typography, I wonder where such distinct features that you can see in R's came from.
I would be grateful if anybody points my research in the right direction.

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riccard0's picture

Geometric play with shapes.

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

You’re not the first who noticed this. http://experimentalsans.tumblr.com/

Alexey Golev's picture

I've seen that blog. I wouldn't have posted a question here without researching first. Collecting is quite an important activity, however without critique and contextual/historical study it's a mere collection of visuals and links. That's why I decided to ask here.

Alexey Golev's picture

I guess I didn't make myself clear. Neither I'm looking for such typefaces nor I focus on experimental typography. I'm seeing the similarities, a certain system behind those "experiments", and I wonder if there is indeed a source of this trend.
One can point me in Paul Renner's direction. And that would be possibly the first step of research. However I can't find the next step.

Thanks everyone for comments anyway.

Nick Shinn's picture

It’s nice to see the return of pure plastic invention.
In the early days of digital, it occurred because the field of type design was suddenly opened up from its turgid, closed-shop state, part of a general turmoil in the graphic arts as the masses got hold of cheap new tools.
Now, I would say it’s more because the field has become so heavily cultivated, with every foundry filling out its repertoire of the genres, that it’s hard to be distinctive if one hoes the same rows as everyone else.

Also, the mind-numbing conservatism of the post-grad type design schools must at some point couple with the servile mentality of foundries churning out their corporate workhorses to provoke a backlash of design for the sake of it.

My perspective is systems-oriented (Marxist/ecological/technological), the idea being that we don’t just create in relation to other artefacts, but also as agents operating in economic and social systems.

While it may look like these types are samey, the more you look, the more you see.
For instance, one distinction is between those which are embellished with overt decoration, and others which are minimal in form, but with the elements configured in unusual ways.

Queneau's picture

I agree with nick that while superficially there are a lot of simularities, but there is still some good stuff there, which is more refined in the details, playful, not simplistic. In fact, the same can be said for every type category. The cream always rises to the top.

lewdsnot's picture

karl nawrot's work when he was studying at werkplaats typografie, around 2008. a font has appeared in the last few weeks on the website tendollarfonts.com that has a horrible font called "simon sans" that is just a whacky composite of rp's fugue, colophon's raissone and karl nawrot's otik. though it mainly borrows liberally from otik.

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