The Stainless® typeface is a fairly large sans serif collection, consisting of 35 different weights and variations. Featuring squared-off bowls, long ascenders and short descenders, it has a modern, almost futuristic feel that’s appropriate for a wide variety of uses.
Designed by Cyrus Highsmith, Stainless grew from his idle sketches of a serif-less version of Dispatch™, a slab serif typeface he’d designed in 1999. As he progressed, it became clear he was creating a new typeface, not simply a sans serif sidekick for Dispatch. Stainless was released by the Font Bureau foundry in 2002. Highsmith asserts that he wanted to achieve “...functional or industrial kinds of lettering,” and didn’t rely on any single source for his inspiration. In an interview in the Spring of 2006, he said “I paid close attention to the white space between and within the characters. I wanted solid, compact wordshapes with a good rhythm. So they catch your eye.”
The typeface’s initial release was limited to 3 weights – ultra-thin, thin, and ultra-light. Its present size of 35 different typefaces came about over time with the addition of regular, bold and black weights, variations in each such as compressed, condensed, italic and extended, and various combinations of the different variations, such as compressed italics and compressed bold italics.
Although Stainless isn’t simply a serif-less Dispatch™, the influence is readily apparent, and art directors and designers have found that the two work very well hand in hand, each complementing the other in different projects.
The Stainless typeface has a very distinctive appearance that makes it eminently suitable for identity work and branding; upon its release in 2002, it was chosen as the branding typeface for Premiere Magazine. The counters are open and very legible, making the font ideal for many purposes, including headlines and continual text in books, magazines and newspapers. It’s also an ideal typeface for any type of display work, including advertising and packaging. Stainless can also be used very effectively as an identity typeface for organizational correspondence and other communications.