“The Curious Case of Erik Spiekermann”, “For lowercase, uppercase, for every case” … There are puns aplenty for a typeface with this particular name. But we’ll spare you any more and concentrate on the facts.
Corporate type designers know this situation all too well: Your client wants something new, something to call their own, something that stands out from the competition. However, in reality, they often end up wanting the same thing: their own version of a Neo-Grotesque in the style of Helvetica®, Akzidenz Grotesk® or Univers®.
Anja Meiners and Ralph du Carrois and even Erik Spiekermann have sat in client briefings like these. As a trio they have been responsible for numerous highly respected custom-type projects, but often they too have found themselves depending upon such a variant or adaptation.
Case is the essence of these experiences. They left out everything that they felt was unnecessary in the world’s most popular typeface genre but they made sure to keep all the best bits. Building on the concentrate of the best bits, they added new ideas and conceptual solutions for a modern static grotesque. The result is the missing element in an otherwise strained and bloated genre: A typeface whose clear basic personality looks familiar and creates trust, but at the same time is novel and individual and is therefore perfect for strong brand building. An ideal font for complex branding projects born out of years of working on such complex branding projects.
Case is currently available in three optical sizes: the core family is suitable for the vast majority of applications, especially larger applications such as logos, wordmarks and headlines, the Text family for longer reads and the Micro version for – surprise, surprise – small text. Depending on the area of use, it can guarantee readability of 5pt, in some cases, even less.
An important distinguishing criterion of the family members is their respective spacing. In comparison to the two versions for text applications, the main family’s spacing is narrow, whereas it is wider on the Text and widest on the Micro. For better readability, both Case Text and Case Micro have a higher x-height, an l with a ‘foot’ and slightly more open shapes than its bigger sister. The Micro has more distinguishable character forms (r, i, j) or wider glyphs (f, t) as well as significant contrast at the the joints of the stems and bows.
A unique selling point are the real italics, since they are a rarity in the genre. Type designers are often satisfied with obliques here. Even rarer are Variable Fonts, but fear not, these are already included in the superfamily package. At no extra cost.
The planned extensions, some of which are already underway, relate to language support, the widths (at least a Condensed and an Extended version), a monospaced version and drumroll please … a UniCase. A little wordplay is allowed after all.
Finally, to come back to the name: one of the characteristics of all Case styles is that in order to optimize some of the letters for the design of logos and wordmarks, the terminals of letters such as c, a, s and e all have the same horizontal endings, including uppercase and small caps. And since the name of the typeface should look good when set in the font itself and all Spiekermann fonts after ITC Officina® only have four letters, the name came about almost automatically.
We believe “in any case” that Case has the potential to become a classic of tomorrow. More than 30 years after Erik Spiekermann’s most important classic FF Meta® was released, its designer, together with Anja Meiners and Ralph du Carrois, have their sights set on the twenties.
(Helvetica, Univers, ITC Officina and FF Meta are trademarks of Monotype registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions. Akzidenz-Grotesk is a trademark of Berthold Types Limited.)