In this blog post I will discuss the most used type family of the modern times, which is Sans-Serif. I will start with its history as it helps me to create a connection between this findings and the past research.
Sans-Serif, asymmetric typography marked political and cultural revolutionaries in the 1920s, just as blurred, splattered and staccato typography, along with distinctive hair styles, clothing and body ornaments, marks certain youth of today (Designhistory, 2016)
So, in previous century the most recognisable representatives of Sans-Serifs family were highly used in the rebellion banners, such as Russian revolutionary posters. Later on, this type family has become a significant sign of youth culture due to this category’s associations with rebellion. In other words, it has proved the findings of my previous research that suggests the fact that the type can be linked to particular group. This is essential to note since it underlines the existence of type’s identity and values.
But due to capitalisation that is presently happening all around the globe the representatives of this type family are highly displayed in mainstream TV and print advertising while some practitioners, ‘still voicing rebellious sentiments, are now designing for major corporate clients’.
It feels like due to the fact that sans-serif type family has become trendy in the modern world it has lost its initial identity. To be more specific, it is used everywhere and by everyone without even knowing of the category’s history and meaning. This fact has made me think of next few questions, such as how and why has this category become so widely used and recognised? What are the values behind it? Are there any specific fonts that are popular? If so, why?
Firstly, as it was found in the previous research Sans-Serif is associated with modernity and cleanness as well as professionalism and tradition. That are an essential characteristics, valuable in the society. Helvetica, as the main representative of these qualities, is regarded by the world designers as symbolic sign of the century (Helvetica, 2007). Interested in popularity of this typestyle, I conducted some research on Helvetica and first interesting fact that captured my attention was that iOS used Helvetica then Helvetica Neue as its system font. I feel that this fact has contributed to Helvetica’s popularity on the global arena since Apple is one the biggest brands in the world. So as to find out more, I am going to conduct further research on Helvetica.
Designhistory.org. (2016). The Sans Serif. [online] Available at: http://www.designhistory.org/Type_milestones_pages/SansSerif.html [Accessed 9 Dec. 2016].
Stinson, L. (2016). Why Apple Abandoned the World’s Most Beloved Typeface. [online] WIRED. Available at: https://www.wired.com/2015/06/apple-abandoned-worlds-beloved-typeface/ [Accessed 30 Sep. 2016].