The Amplitude font family is a sans serif typeface design from Christian Schwartz. Schwartz’ vision when designing Amplitude was a design that would behave like two separate typefaces when viewed at alternate sizes. At the display size, Amplitude’s white spaces are carved out to lend enhanced legibility to the font, giving it a distinct look. Amplitude is recognizable by its deep angled cuts that allow it to remain readable even when sized down to the smallest agate. At its basis, Amplitude is a bit quirky yet highly functional with its legible characters that make it easy to read. The Amplitude font family has been expanded to include thirty-five separate styles with a variety of weights and widths. Amplitude has been adopted by many major newspapers and publications.
In 2003, designer Christian Schwartz envisioned a font that would take on the properties of two separate fonts when sized up or down, while retaining its readability and legibility. Inspired by Matthew Carter’s Bell Centennial, which was designed for use in telephone directories, Schwartz became interested in the unique and striking forms that were created by ink traps. Ink traps are carved out spaces where strokes converge that would be filled in later by ink expanding on paper. Absent these notches, forms would expand to the point that they would be illegible. While Schwartz was working at the Font Bureau, he learned the demands of printing small type onto absorbent paper. These two factors combined during the design of the Amplitude font family, which is fundamentally more or less an agate face that was drawn for display.
The dramatic ink traps that are seen with the Amplitude typeface do not have the same broad appeal to newspaper designers that they do with magazine designer. Ironically, headline typeface options need to have the ability to recede into the background. Thus, the personality of the typeface will not interfere with its ability to be appropriate for a broad number of news items. With the Amplitude typeface, end users realize a less intrusive presence on the page. The hallmark of an effective agate for print publishing is that the designer has predicted the expansion of ink on paper and created a typeface that will retain its legibility under a myriad of conditions and that stays readable in a variety of sizes.
Because the Amplitude typeface can be scaled up and down as needed, and due to the fact that it retains its legibility as an agate in newsprint, even at small sizes, it is no small wonder that it is frequently chosen for print publications. Many newspapers have adopted the Amplitude font family, including the Arizona Daily Star, which uses it for headlines, as does Alabama’s Gadsen Times. Magazines and other publications, like the Columbia Journalism Review, love the scalability and legibility of the Amplitude font family to create legible, easy-to-read copy. Madison Wisconsin’s State Journal uses Amplitude in its captions and texts. On a national level, Sports Illustrated for Kids adopted the Amplitude font family for the text on their front cover page for the June 2011 edition of the magazine. But that’s not the only major publication that has paid homage to the Amplitude font. Vibe magazine used Amplitude typeface in parts of their headline text for their June 2008 cover page as well.
From its inception, Amplitude was designed to be indispensable for publication designers and corporate designers and covers a wide array of corporate design needs. Amplitude has been successfully implanted in corporate design into annual reports, letterheads, packaging, billboards, business cards, and more. Since publication designers require a number of widths in order to be flexible when fitting copy on a page, Amplitude is ideal for all sorts of publications because of its unparalleled capacity for scalability without losing its ability to be read easily.