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 Graphic Content | Carter Sans

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Join date : 2010-12-20
Age : 41

PostSubject: Graphic Content | Carter Sans   Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:50 pm

Courtesy of PentagramMatthew
Carter’s new typeface, Carter Sans, made its pre-debut at last year’s
Art Directors Club Hall of Fame gala, when the designers Michael Bierut
and Joe Marianek of Pentagram used the typeface for the gala’s printed
materials, including postcards bearing quotes from graphic design
legends. This one, with a quote by Seymour Chwast, is shown against a
detail of a Chwast poster, “Dante’s Inferno.”

Rarely is a typeface introduced with as much fanfare as a new movie,
book or song. But when it is created by Matthew Carter, the first
typeface designer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship,
the unveiling is almost a celebrity event. And if you’re a graphic
designer, taking it out for a test drive (which is how sampling a
typeface is sometimes referred to these days) is much anticipated.
The recently released Carter Sans is the first of Carter’s more than
two dozen original typefaces — which include Bell Centennial, Bitstream
Charter, ITC Galliard, Mantinia, Snell Roundhand and Verdana — to bear
his own name. It is a hybrid sans serif (meaning without the little
feet), known to some as “flare serif” and others as “glyphic serif,”
owing to the ever-so-slight inscriptional accent (or flare) at the ends
of the strokes. Carter said that only a few such typefaces exist,
including Friz Quadrata, Icone and Albertus, and he had never designed
one before.
“Actually, Albertus was always a favorite of mine,” Carter said of
the typeface, which was designed by the German-Jewish émigré Berthold
Wolpe in the 1930s, and which was subsequently used for all the graphics
on “The Prisoner,” the 1960s TV show. “But I didn’t set out to imitate
Berthold’s face or any other.”
Carter, who has done many revivals of vintage typefaces (redrawing
them to conform to current aesthetics and technologies), was
commissioned by Alan Haley of Monotype Imaging,
a text-imaging company, to make a new sans serif — because they sell
well these days — out of one of his more popular serif typefaces, ITC
Charter. “After a fair amount of experimentation and several rounds of
design attempts, he confessed to me over lunch one day that the design
‘just wasn’t happening,’” Haley explained. So Carter changed his focus,
toward a design that he had been thinking about for a while and found,
to his surprise, that he was totally engaged in making the capital
When designing, Carter views capitals as initials for lower case
letters, routinely spending most of his time focused on the lower-case
character sets. But for this new type he became “hooked on capitals” and
“very attentive to how they looked together.” There is an elegant,
chiseled, inscriptional quality to the caps that at once suggests the
past but telegraphs the present. This was demonstrated at the 2010 Art
Directors Club Hall of Fame ceremony, at which Carter was an inductee.
Michael Bierut and Joe Marianek of Pentagram New York designed the
gala’s graphic identity, which included a series of postcards with
clever quotations from design legends like Seymour Chwast (shown here),
using Carter Sans all caps in a kind of sneak preview. The type was so
stunningly set that designers wondered whether there was a lower case.
(Designers worth their salt become uncontrollably ecstatic when they see
stunning type.)
Type design can be a solitary process, but for this project Carter
collaborated with Dan Reynolds, a senior type designer at Monotype
Imaging’s Linotype subsidiary. Carter designed the Roman, italic and a
few trial characters for other weights, while Reynolds oversaw the
character set development and font production for the rest of the
characters. Carter explained that as type designers go, there are those
who have a strong personal style and who name faces after themselves,
and others who are more eclectic and use historically derived names. “I
am the latter,” he said. “I don’t have a huge personal investment in a
type that is the essential me. I am happy to have my name on the face,
but it is not my last word.”
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