It’s uncommon for a sans serif to have relatively high contrast between thick and thin strokes, but that’s exactly what designer Chong Wah hoped to achieve with Ocean Sans. “The most important criterion in my mind was the need for an obvious contrast between the stroke weights to achieve a fresher and more modern design,” he explains.
Thinner strokes are optically calculated to be approximately two-thirds of the stem weight, creating a strong contrast while still allowing the type to be set at small sizes. The design is somewhat condensed, which makes it space-economical for headlines and narrow columns of text copy.
Also unusual for a sans serif design is Ocean Sans’ cursive italic. “I wanted a true italic to accompany the Roman,” says Wah, “because I believe that cursive designs are superior for adding emphasis within text. I also believe that a true italic style lends grace and elegance to a page.”
Chong Wah, who is a self-trained type designer, studied graphic design in England before returning home to Malaysia. He was an advertising designer for several years before deciding, in 1984, to devote more time to type design. He also honed his skills working for Monotype Typography, first on staff, and later as a freelance designer.
Design Taxi: Ocean Sans Pro
Ocean Sans works well in both text and display media. It is used widely in the design of catalogues, brochures, advertisements and flyers. Given its free, flowing tone and look, Ocean Sans is an excellent logo element for organizations that are service-oriented and need a lighter touch in their branding.