The ITC Stone® Sans font family is a humanist sans-serif typeface, subtly infused with an undertone of calligraphy. It was designed by Sumner Stone as part of the wider ITC Stone series and released during Stone’s tenure as Director of Typography at Adobe Systems in 1987. The font is designed to work well in conjunction with the other faces in the Stone family, including the serif variety.
The ITC Stone Sans font started life a long time before its eventual realization in font form. Its typographer, Sumner Stone, studied at Reed College where he had to opportunity to undertake classes in calligraphy with Lloyd Reynolds. After graduation Stone worked for Hallmark in Missouri as a lettering artist from 1969 to 1971, going on to become the Principal at the Alpha and Omega Press in 1972. Re-entering college later that decade, Stone obtained another degree – this time in mathematics.
It was this curious mix of calligraphy and mathematical ability that gave rise to the ITC Stone Sans font. While it is clearly a humanist font, its letterforms are also very balanced. With a perfect combination of thicker and thinner strokes and a mixture of straight and slanted cuts on the ends of the letters, the ITC Stone Sans design is an elegant and minimalistic typeface eminently suitable for a very wide range of applications.
In his position at Adobe, Stone was also responsible for the groundbreaking Adobe Originals, working at times with Adobe’s Bob Ishi (whose Japanese surname also means “Stone”). John Renner designed a series of phonetic companion faces for the entire ITC Stone font family, an addition that became available in 1992.
Being such a diverse font family, the ITC Stone series can be used in almost any application. The ITC Stone Sans in particular has many possible applications, as its elegant, unfussy styling is a perfect accompaniment to many forms of design, from logotype to print.
Some significant examples of the ITC Stone Sans design “in the wild” include its use in the National Geographic Channel logo. Naturally, in many corporate ventures the original letterforms are modified slightly, but several features – the capital “E” in particular – render the ITC Stone Sans design very conspicuous.
Other logos include the Techfest 2011 logo and the Taylor & Francis Group logo (a publishing company based in the United Kingdom). In this last example, the most striking change to the font can be seen in the modified ampersand.
In print, the ITC Stone Sans design can be seen regularly in the Tageblatt, a Luxembourgian daily newspaper.