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Syntax®

By Linotype

Hans Eduard Meier
Linotype
Syntax? was designed by Swiss typographer Hans Eduard Meier, and issued in 1968 by the D. Stempel AG type foundry as their last hot metal type family. Meier used an unusual rationale in the design of this sans serif typeface; it has the shapes of humanist letters or oldstyle types (such as Sabon), but with a modified monoline treatment. The original drawings were done in 1954; first by writing the letters with a brush, then redrawing their essential linear forms, and finally adding balanced amounts of weight to the skeletons to produce optically monoline letterforms. Meier wanted to subtly express the rhythmical dynamism of written letters and at the same time produce a legible sans serif typeface. This theme was supported by using a very slight slope in the roman, tall ascenders, terminals at right angles to stroke direction, caps with classical proportions, and the humanist style a and g. The original foundry metal type was digitized in 1989 to make this family of four romans and one italic. Meier completely reworked Syntax in 2000, completing an expanded and improved font family that is available exclusively from Linotype GmbH as Linotype Syntax."

The Syntax font was originally designed by brush by Swiss typeface designer Hans Eduard Meier in the early 1950s. He began to have it redrawn by hand to define essential linear forms and then finally completed the font design fifteen years after it was begun with the addition of balanced weight to create a visually singular design. In all, designer Meier completed the original drawings for the font in 1954 with the redrawing completed in 1968 and the final font form released in 1969 in three weights light, semi-bold and extra bold.

Between 1968 and 1972 Meier went on to complete a variety of weights and variations to the basic font family. In 1989 Adobe® digitized the original metal foundry designs at the same time expanding into bold and ultra bold weights. The end result at that time was a family of five fonts: 4 Roman and 1 Italic.

In 1995 Linotype® began working with Meier to update and expand the Syntax font family for the changing needs of the typographical world. The end result with six weights plus the addition of italics, small caps and old style figures was released in 2000. Beyond the expansion of the prime font family, they decided to create three new family members: Syntax Serif™, Syntax Letter™ and Syntax Lapidar.™

The Linotype Syntax Font is widely used for captions and text, in advertising for packaging and signage5, and in a variety of publications including the European newspapers OÖ Nachrichten™ and The Deccan Herald™ and the German Style magazine impulse 2000™.

It has also seen wide use as a type font for a variety of books including The Best German Book Design, and Lonely Planet Guidebooks. The British Library has specified the use of the Syntax font across all external and internal communications and that it is to be the only font used for such communications.

In the late 1980s Syntax designer Meier worked with Niklas Wirth’s ETH during the development of the Oberon Operating System to develop bit-map versions of the font for the text-based user interface system1.

Sans Serif
Grotesque Sans