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ITC Conduit®


Mark van Bronkhorst
ITC Conduit was designed by Mark van Bronkhorst based on the letters on ordinary signage done by a non-professional. He took the regular but awkward forms and added his experienced sense of design and proportion...and in the process broke almost every rule. The forms were made with a grid, like the 90 degree corners in real conduits with all the tips and corners rounded off."" A few optical corrections produced ITC Conduit, a fairly narrow, square and highly legible sans serif typeface.

The design was “a cut-and-paste job” constructed from a set of character parts, according to van Bronkhorst. As he developed the face, the 90 degree turns on the shapes reminded him of electrical conduits; hence the name.

“I deliberately broke every optical rule in making the italics and weights,” says van Bronkhorst. “The italic is merely a skewed version of the roman, with no visual adjustment. I did, however, create substitutions for the letters a, f, g, and E to give an ironic ‘italic’ feel to an otherwise obliqued face. The weights are a form of computer-generated swelling – think edema.”

After the ITC Conduit font's release in 1997, Fast Company magazine asked van Bronkhorst to develop additional, custom weights. With the launch of Extra LightRegularExtra Bold, and Black weights, plus new small caps and old style figures for all weights, the ITC Conduit font went from six fonts to 35 designs.

Taking the face to such extremes – particularly the Black weight – was both scary and fun for van Bronkhorst and Alan Greene, who also worked on the project. “Given the concept that the ITC Conduit font is stiff and naïve, we felt we could get away with murder on the shapes,” says van Bronkhorst. “Our friend Erik Spiekermann describes the Black as ‘wonderfully stupid.’ We quite agree.”


Square Sans
Sans Serif
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