“My goal was to make a design that might fit in anywhere,” says Jim Ford about his Quire Sans™ typeface. “I wanted it to be highly functional and sexy at the same time.” With one foot comfortably in the realm of oldstyle design and traditional book typography, and the other in evolving electronic media, the Quire Sans family does, indeed, fit in just about anywhere. As for sexy, someone once quotably wrote, “A great figure or physique is nice, but it's self-confidence that makes someone really sexy.” Yes, Quire Sans is sexy, performing confidently in virtually any setting.
Ford, for almost a decade before designing Quire Sans, had delved into the rich typographic details of historic book publishing typefaces. Several years ago, he undertook an experiment to create a sans serif that could encompass all periods of type history. “The experiment was a modular typeface,” says Ford. “It was a simple alphabet – really just a simple line – but with ‘historic’ alternate characters for the more distinctive letterforms like a, e, and g, to emulate the various type design genres. By switching in these characters, the whole look of the alphabet could be changed.” Ford used the most “universal” oldstyle forms from his experimental design as the foundation for the Quire Sans typeface.
“Quire Sans,” says Ford, “is a reflection of my personal style, presented in the most minimal fashion.” His previous typeface designs range from traditional text faces to innovative display lettering, Ford has also drawn custom typefaces for enterprises ranging from design agencies and publishers to software manufacturers and game developers. He joined Monotype Studio as a typeface designer in 2013, following 10 years as a lettering artist and illustrator. Graduating from Columbia College in Chicago with a degree a graphic design, Ford has, in addition to his custom typefaces, a wealth of original commercial designs ranging from traditional text to innovative display faces to his credit.
Ford acknowledges that the “Dutch school” of design rubbed off on him early on, and that the Quire Sans design pays a subtle homage to modern Dutch typefaces. “The a is my favorite letter,” he admits, “and the a in Quire Sans clearly has a Dutch influence, as do the default oldstyle figures.” Normally, lining figures are the default, so Quire Sans is unusual in this regard.
The e was another important letter requiring some special design attention. “The ‘eye,’ or counter, is quite small in most oldstyle designs,” says Ford. “I needed to make Quire’s bigger, but not lose the oldstyle quality, so I made the bottom part of the letter – the smile – a little bigger to make the counter appear smaller.” These key details ensure legibility even at very small sizes.
The OpenType® Quire Sans fonts also benefit from a large suite of alternate characters, including small caps, ligatures, and, of course, the lining figures. But Ford did not stop there. He also drew an alternate ampersand and single-story g, in addition to paragraph symbols and fleurons for the various weights.
Users of Quire Sans will benefit from its 10 design weights – each with a cursive italic counterpart. Weights range from a pencil-point thin to a burly, commanding fat.
Quire Sans translates exceptionally well from hardcopy environments to digital screens and user experience design. It retains its personality and legibility at both large and small sizes, and its extensive range of weights gives the family extraordinary versatility.
The Quire Sans typeface family is available as a suite of OpenType Pro and Web fonts, allowing users to take advantage of OpenType’s capabilities, including automatic insertion of the full range of additional glyphs Ford has designed. The Quire Sans fonts also offers an extended character set supporting most Central European and many Eastern European languages.