The Carter Sans™ typeface family is a robust, sophisticated design that melds distinction and clarity in perfect proportions. The greatest influence and driving force behind the design is, of course, Matthew Carter, whose name the typeface bears. Two other designers, however, also lent an accomplished hand with the design: Dan Reynolds, of Linotype, and Berthold Wolpe.
Carter Sans History
Several years ago, Monotype Imaging was looking for a distinctive new sans serif typeface for the ITC Typeface Library and approached Carter with a collaborative design proposal: for Carter to create the foundation of the design and have complete oversight in the family’s development, and for Reynolds to handle the lion’s share of the Pro character set design and font productization. All parties were in favor of the arrangement, and design began late in 2007. How did Wolpe, who had passed away in 1989, become part of the collaborative team? Carter knew Wolpe quite well, having collaborated with him on a design project at Linotype, and had long admired Wolpe’s work. Wolpe’s posthumous contribution is the subtle refrain from his Albertus typeface that Carter incorporated into the design. Reynolds immediately sensed the Wolpe refrain when he saw Carter’s early sketches for the design. He recalls, “For years, I had been a fan of the lettering and typefaces of Berthold Wolpe. My first impression of the Carter Sans characters was that they reminded me of Wolpe’s work. I instantly liked the typeface.”
Carter Sans History
Though not an homage to Albertus, Carter Sans shares the humanistic overtones, hearty shapes and bold simplicity of the Wolpe design. Stroke weights flair slightly, producing just the hint of a serif, and counters do not echo the outside character shapes. Carter describes the design as a “sanserif whose stroke-endings show the effect of the chisel more than the pen.” He was careful to maintain the angularity and crisp shapes of the letters as character weight increases from the Regular, through Medium and Semibold to the Bold design. The final design doesn’t just put on weight — it adds chiseled muscle mass. The italics of Carter Sans have also been kept lean and powerful — with the only vestiges of cursiveness appearing in letters like the ‘e’ and ‘f.’ To supplement the large Pro font character set, which supports most Central European and many Eastern European languages, Reynolds also drew small caps to complement the old style figures drawn by Carter. The result is a design ideally suited to display copy as well as text composition. From his elegant script typefaces of Cascade, Snell Roundhand and Shelly, to the modern classics of Olympian, Charter and Galliard, to the Windows’ system fonts of Tahoma and Verdana, Carter’s typefaces are varied, distinctive, and remarkably versatile graphic communication tools. Carter Sans adds yet another engaging shade to his rich typographic palette. Additionally, the entire Carter Sans family is available as Web fonts, from Fonts.com Web Fonts.