Posted in Publication, Typeface

Neutral Typeface | Kai Bernau | Typotheque


Neutral by Kai Bernau,

— Typotheque,

Neutral was originally Kai Bernau’s graduation project for the graphic design BA at the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague,in 2005.

It is the attempt to create a typeface that is free of all connotations or associations that could distract a reader fromthe text, a font that delivers the character of the written material untouched by the character of the typeface design.

The whole project started with a discussion about why certain typefaces seemed to ‘age better’, or indeed age less than others: there seemed to be something about some of the big milestonesof 20th century type design like Times or Univers that kept them fresh for more than fifty years.

The process drew from ideas such as the Platonic form theory, Conceptual Art, Taoism and tea ceremonies. Part of the project was to develop a design methodology of comparisons and measurements to come up with rules for the design of the typeface.

The project consisted of various parts: a book describing the design process; a website recording email discussions of the project with Daniel van der Velden, Experimental Jetset, Uwe Loesch, BerndKuchenbeiser and Helmut Schmid (among others), a series of posters byvarious international designers using the typeface; and of course the typeface itself, the result of the project.

We’re proud to present to you this new and much improved version of Neutral, released by Typotheque in 2014.

What is new about this new Neutral? In a word, everything. Using the original typeface as a guideline to trace over, every glyph was carefully redrawn, every spacing and kerning decision revisitedand subtly improved. At the same time, the goal was to keep the original qualities of the typeface the same: the quiet evenness,the unobtrusive character, and the great performance in continuous text.

We also used this opportunity to extend the character sets, and greatly improve the numerals: Neutral’s figures have been completely redrawn, and now exist in four versions per style. The default figures are proportional lining figures at the height of caps. They alsoexist (together with currency, mathematical symbols and selected punctuation) in tabular versions.

Instead of old style figures, Neutral features text figures that are smaller than cap height and stand out less in running text. They too come in proportional and tabular versions.

Neutral is now also available for web use, with beautiful screen optimisation. Because monitors have lower resolution, the Neutral screen fonts are spaced very slightly wider than the print counterparts, to make sure they read just as well on the screen as they do in print.


—Thanks to Peter Bilak / Typotheque for info/images


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