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A san serif is easy in one way. You have a vertical stroke that ends like a square. Most of the time the outline is even. There is not much happening at the border of black and white. In the 19th century when the sans serifs got popular people called them GROTESQUES. Not used to the forms of the sans they might have thought, there is something missing, something cut away, not complete.
For a few years I worked more on serifs then on sans serifs. One of the first things you discover when doing this, is that the spacing is completely different. The serifs and other elements create other shapes and a much more complex system of proportion. Many more decisions have to be made and many more form components have to be designed and be harmonized. For me as a designer who still grew up in this German Bauhaus/HFG athmosphere where less was always more, this experience is very interesting. When your approach is always »less is more« you loose the ability to design complex compositions.You tend to take things out that might have been important. Don't get me wrong. I still love sans serifs and I am working on a new one at the moment. But serifs are much more challenging. The first ideas of Alida I had about two years ago. It started with a display serif with thin hairlines and thin but clear serifs. For a long time I did not know what to do with it. Usually I tend to work very quick on a typeface, because I think that keeps life and character in the stroke. With Alida several new approaches were needed to finally find the right way for it. So it took its time.
In the standard set the main figures are tabular but with a proportional old style figure set as a feature.
Alida for text has got 7 different weights with italics and smallcaps and a display version with 7 weights and italics.