March 10, 2011
This might be a little far-afield if you’re not a typography nerd, but in an interview with Matthew Carter about his new font, Carter Sans, Carter and the interviewer, Paul Shaw, get into an interesting discussion about flare-serifs, or the fonts that live somewhere between serif and sans serif. Here’s Shaw’s set up:
The typefaces I mentioned above would have been classified as “Flareserifs” by Bitstream, but I think this is a misnomer because they don’t really have serifs as such. I rather like the term flare serif. But there is always the sticky question as to where the dividing line lies between a sans serif such as Optima with flared strokes and a flare serif such as Icone or your new Carter Sans Pro. Some people get around this slippery slope by declaring that any deviation from a straight stem or stroke disqualifies a letter as a true sans serif. Do such classification quibbles bother you or do they provide you an opportunity for a new design? Are there specific examples of inscriptional lettering that sparked Carter Sans Pro in the same way that the lettering on the reliquary of Justin II provided the basis for Sophia?