Some in the typography community are now moving towards the creation of high quality, open source free fonts. This is a sea change in the philosophy we're used to dealing with from the old school foundries, representing a new age in how we can consume great typefaces.
It’s true. We’ve always been a sucker for a great slab.
In this world where everyone always seems to be creating brands and identities using your typical san-serfis, the talented team at Hoefler-Frere Jones has brought back some love to the Slab Serif.
Sentinel: the slab serif that works.
For everyone who’s ever wished Clarendons had italics, everyone whose favorite slab serif is shy a few weights, and everyone who’s ever needed a slab serif to thrive in text: we designed Sentinel for you.
The first slab serifs were designed to be oddities. It was their intention to be eye-catching, to be novelties amidst the world’s conventional book types. Never mind that some of these faces treated different letters inconsistently, or had inherent qualities that limited the size of their families: these were eccentricities, and to a novelty typeface, eccentricity is strength. Two centuries later, their legacy includes three beloved species of typeface that are handsome, popular, and maddeningly difficult to use. Each is marred by a crippling deficiency, a situation inspiring us to create Sentinel.
Sentinel was designed to address the many shortcomings of the classical slab serif. Unbound by traditions that deny italics, by technologies that limit its design, or by ornamental details that restrict its range of weights, Sentinel is a fresh take on this useful and lovely style, offering for the first time a complete family that’s serviceable for both text and display. From the Antique style it borrows a program of contrasting thicks and thins, but trades that style’s frumpier mannerisms for more attractive contemporary details. It improves on both Clarendons and Geometrics by including a complete range of styles, six weights from Light to Black that are consistent in both style and quality. Planned from the outset to flourish in small sizes as well as large, Sentinel contains features like short-ranging figures that make it a dependable choice for text. And most mercifully, it includes thoughtfully designed italics across its entire range of weights.
Call to Action
So we ask you, please take another look at the fonts you use for your new projects, the world needs a little more excitement and colour in its designs. A return to the slabs would be an excellent start.