Christian Schwartz has partnered with Paul Barnes to form Commercial Type, a new type foundry based in London and New York. Please click here to visit our site.
Stag Sans Round
FF Meta Headline
FF Meta Serif
FF Unit Slab
Neutraface No. 2
Neue Haas Grotesk
2007. Art Directed by Ken Barber and Andy Cruz. Released by House Industries.
I am surprised that Neutraface has become so ubiquitous. I can't leave my apartment without running into an ad for a new condo development using it, or a restaurant, or a new cookbook. Seeing it around so much, little things started to bother me about it. The low crossbars are fine in a short block of text, but in a whole magazine's worth of captions, they start to grate on my nerves. I had also seen a number of logos and a Swedish home design magazine using versions of the face that had been modified with varying degrees of success, so the demand for a more 'normal' Neutraface seemed clear. We had discussed drawing an alternate version with more normal crossbars as part of the initial release, but ulitmately decided that it would water the concept of the face down too much. In 2006, I asked House if they might reconsider this decision and let me do a 'director's cut' of the face, raising the crossbars, adjusting accent heights for better setting of Scandinavian languages, and fine-tuning a few other details. I also took this opportunity to add an Inline version, which helped alleviate some of the inevitable boredom of going back into an old project. We decided to call this new versions 'Neutraface No. 2', after Linotype's 'Metro No. 2', W.A. Dwiggins's rethinking of his geometric sans.
It was less difficult than I thought it would be to retain the character of the original while removing the most distinctive feature. Even with the modified proportions, the essential character of the curves is the same, and the pointed apexes keep it firmly in a certain era of American architecture and design.
Neutraface Text Book
Neutraface No. 2 Text Book
In text, the differences are a lot more subtle. Caps that were once a bit distracting blend in a bit better. I was surprised to find how much impact trading out the original 'g' for the single-story form had on the overall look of a block of text. Neutraface Text is finally behaving the way I always wanted it to, smooth and clean, and very Modern.
A full range of Condensed weights completes the set.
I still have a lot of affection for the original Neutraface, with all of its quirks, but Neutraface No. 2 is a typeface that I would be more likely to want to use myself.
Display styles in Thin, Light, Medium and Bold weights, plus Titling and Inline. Text styles in Light, Book, Demi and Bold weights, all with Italics, Small Caps, and Italic Small Caps.