Developed over several years by the late Otl Aicher and first released in the late 1980s, the Rotis® typeface has become a timeless classic.
Aicher was a renowned German designer and corporate image consultant. He created the four basic designs of Rotis – sans serif, semi sans, semi seif and serif – within an extended typeface family concept, wherein all designs share a common cap height, lowercase x-height, basic stem weight and general proportions. While each version is part of the large, integrated family, each was also designed to function on its own as a distinctive typestyle. The result is that all members of the Rotis family combine smoothly with each other.
Aicher, however, did not design the Rotis family with the weights and proportions normal for more contemporary releases. Rotis Sans Serif, for example, was drawn with just six weights and only two italics. Starting in 2010, Robin Nicholas, senior designer for Monotype Imaging in the UK, and freelance designer Alice Savoie collaborated to bring Rotis Sans Serif up to current standards. The result is Rotis II Sans, a completely new addition to the Rotis family.
“We devised our approach together,” recalls Savoie, “deciding which weights to start with, what kind of alterations to make to the original Rotis, etc. I went to work on the typefaces, regularly submitting proofs to Robin. We would then decide in tandem on the next steps to take.”
Nicholas elaborates, “We revisited the range of weights and added matching italics so that the new additions to the family offer increased versatility. We optimized the outlines, corrected the weight of several letters and re-examined overall spacing and kerning. In addition to a new set of numerals, with a height similar to the capitals, we also drew case-sensitive punctuation.”
The new Rotis II Sans suite comprises 14 typefaces: seven weights, ranging from extra light to black, each with a companion italic. The designs are available as OpenType® Pro fonts, allowing for automatic insertion of ligatures and fractions. Pro fonts also offer an extended character set supporting most Central European and many Eastern European languages. Aicher’s original Rotis designs were widely used for branding and advertising. With the addition of Rotis II Sans, the family is again poised to become a powerful communicator.
Additionally, the entire Rotis II Sans family is available as Web fonts, from Fonts.com Web Fonts.