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Yalta™ Sans

By Linotype

Stefan Claudius
Yalta Sans combines the warmth of a traditional humanist design, the clarity of a grotesque and the modernity of a square sans. Several design traits contribute to this melding of diverse typographic concepts. Characters find their foundation in stroke-based shapes rather than constructed forms. Curve stokes are also slightly squared and counters are open. Curved strokes join verticals at nearly right angles to create a strong horizontal stress, aiding the reading process. The resulting design is exceptionally legible while still inviting.
Although Yalta Sans is clearly differentiated from its calligraphic ancestors, many details of the design emulate the distinctive characteristics of typefaces from the Renaissance. Tapering horizontal stokes also give Yalta Sans a dynamic relationship with linear grotesque while its angled stroke terminals echo the work of a calligraphic brush
Yalta Sans italics are cursive designs that are in keeping with humanistic letterforms and are markedly narrower than the Roman characters. Lining and old style figures, small caps and a suite of ligatures also make for a remarkably versatile typeface family.

Like many typeface designers today, Claudius begins by making pencil sketches. In some cases he also builds the design foundation using a broad-nib pen. “Not so much to create the actual glyphs,” he elaborates, “but to get a feel for the character shapes and the interplay of thick and thin. This technique was especially helpful in developing Yalta Sans.”

The origins of Yalta Sans date back to sketches and trial drawings Claudius made in 2005. “At that time, I had a less analytic approach to typeface design and was more inclined to play with forms,” recalls Claudius. “My work was largely an exploration, to discover how letterforms could be influenced.”

While Yalta Sans changed in many particulars over its eight-year gestation, one aspect remained the same: a subtle modulation of character stroke thickness. “At small sizes,” Claudius points out, “the modulation is felt rather than actually seen. It is only at large sizes that the variation becomes apparent.” He adds, “it is not nearly as apparent as in Optima, for example.”

Yalta Sans was not Claudius’ initial choice to name his typeface. He considered several other possibilities during the design process, before settling on Yalta Sans. “At first, I wanted to call it Poly Sans and then I went for Plural Sans,” recalls Claudius, “but there are so many other typefaces with similar names. I chose Yalta because I wanted the name to reference the idea that different influences – geometry and humanism – are at work within the design. At the Yalta Conference near the end of the Second World War, the principal Allies met together to negotiate the outlines of the new world order. It was necessary for them to reconcile various conflicting attitudes.”

“I’ve loved letters and lettering for as long as I can remember.” says Claudius. “I recall constructing letters in my early grammar school exercise books. My first computer had a text editor that enabled me to construct bitmap letters. My initial attempts were poorly designed and close to illegible, but I was enraptured with the idea that I could create digital fonts.”

Swiss by birth, Claudius lives and works in Germany. “I am only Swiss on paper,” he says with a smile. “But I am a great fan of Swiss graphic design. For me, the best of Swiss design embodies all the merits of Dutch design – the playful and the experimental.”

A graphic designer known for his typography as well as for typeface design Claudius also founded Cape Arcona Type Foundry with Thomas Schostok. Claudius teaches typography and type design at several universities.

A myriad of design traits give Yalta Sans its distinctive persona. Conical stroke finials in characters like the b, d and n impart a dynamic tension to the design. In contrast, the rounded foot of the i, the slightly diagonal stems of the M, the serifs of the i and j, and the rounded punctuation marks infuse a feeling of warmth and humanity. The lowercase g is in the single-storied form, but a bowl-and-loop variant is available as an alternate character.

Users of Yalta Sans will benefit from its eight design weights – each with a cursive italic counterpart. Weights range from lithe thin to a full-bodied and commanding black.

Yalta Sans is an excellent choice for branding and corporate design. Its character shapes and warm demeanor make for a typeface that is both memorable and easy to read. “I believe it evokes values that are important to many businesses: a human approach and an affinity for technology,” says Claudius.

Yalta Sans is not limited to this narrow scope of design projects. It translates exceptionally well to digital screens and user experience design. Yalta Sans performs beautifully at both large and small sizes, and its extensive range of weights gives the family extraordinary versatility.

The Yalta Sans family is available as a suite of OpenType® Pro and Web fonts. Users can work with this design while taking advantage of OpenType’s capabilities, including the automatic insertion of old style figures, ligatures and small caps. The Yalta Sans fonts also offer an extended character set supporting most Central European and many Eastern European languages.

Download the Yalta Sans type specimen

Sans Serif
Humanistic Sans
Yalta™ Sans