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Smythe Sans

SmytheSans is the result of a year-long inquiry into exploring a contemporary sans serif that is eminently readable on-screen and in print. It features a large x-height, ample yet economic spacing for capitals, small caps, a Central and Eastern European character set and is offered in five weights: thin, ultra light, light, regular and bold. These are offset by matching italic and oblique cuts of each weight to give designers more variation- the italic has flared, calligraphically-inspired terminals and is a true italic, while the oblique is more mechanical in appearance. (In reality, the “oblique” is actually an italic as well due to the single-storied nature of the the “a” of the typeface, though it’s just easier to call it an “oblique” rather than “italic 2”.)

The typeface also includes five weights of a retro-futuristic display face called SmytheSans Display that bring in more idiosyncratic characters for display setting- a NASA-inspired space age “A”, a decorative "double-V" treatment for the “W”, and a whole lot more.

The lighter weights are slightly slimmer than the regular and bold weights to give the typeface more of a vertical feel, inviting readers' to rapidly read typeset text with a maximum of contrast and a minimum of optical dazzle. The entire family was given rigorous testing using Craig Mod’s Bibliotype html-based book layout system for on-screen rendering checks and innumerable print proofs using actual text (not Greek) in InDesign.

What was the inspiration for designing the font? While in Havana, Cuba I came across some capital lettering on a drugstore that looked quite similar to the ubiquitous capitals throughout New York City that inspired the popular typeface Gotham from Hoefler & Frere-Jones. I wondered what would happen in that typeface’s tendency toward a tall x-height was carried through a single-storied font with more horizontal characteristics for enhanced readability while being super-friendly and bright in appearance.

Smythe Sans is available in OpenType (OTF) and TrueType (TTF) format for all 20 weights - 20 fonts for $250! Included are Smythe Sans Thin, Smythe Sans Oblique Thin, Smythe Sans Italic Thin, Smythe Sans Ultra Light, Smythe Sans Ultra Light Oblique, Smythe Sans Ultra Light Italic, Smythe Sans Light, Smythe Sans Oblique Light, Smythe Sans Italic Light, Smythe Sans Regular, Smythe Sans Italic, Smythe Sans Oblique, Smythe Sans Bold, Smythe Sans Oblique Bold, Smythe Sans Italic, Smythe Sans Bold, Smythe Sans Display Thin, Smythe Sans Display Ultra Light, Smythe Sans Display Light, Smythe Sans Display, and Smythe Sans Display Bold.

  • SmytheSans Thin otf (100)
  • SmytheSansItalic Thin otf (100)
  • SmytheSansDisplay Thin otf (100)
  • SmytheSansOblique Thin otf (100)
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