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Hypatia Sans Pro

Hypatia Sans Pro was conceived in the fall of 2002, when Adobe's Thomas Phinney (now product manager for fonts and global typography) noted that the Adobe Originals collection did not include a geometric sans serif. Under the guidance and tutelage of Robert Slimbach, Adobe principal type designer, Phinney developed his concept into a font family over the next four and a half years. In the final stages of the project, Slimbach teamed with Miguel Sousa to do the kerning of the typeface as Phinney finalized the outlines.

Hypatia Sans poster style sample
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Early on Phinney found the voice of the typeface, which guided him in further refinements. The capitals would have classic Roman proportions, like Trajan®, while the lower-case would exhibit strong geometric tendencies tempered with humanism to increase warmth and legibility. Although initially conceived as a display design for use at 18-36 points, Hypatia Sans is legible enough for short blocks of text as small as 10-12 point. Vestigial angled serifs on the upper left of stems give a modern counterpoint to a design that might otherwise be reminiscent of the 1920s or 30s.

Another modern touch comes from the Hypatia Sans weight range, comprising six weights that run the gamut from extra light to black. Hypatia also has extensive language support, including Central European, Vietnamese, extended Cyrillic, and polytonic Greek coverage.

Hypatia Sans weight samples
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Historical Background and Design Goals

The geometric and humanist sans serifs of the late 1920s, such as Paul Renner's Futura and Eric Gill's Gill Sans, continued to define their respective genres for the rest of the century. Their quirkier brethren, such as Rudolf Koch's Kabel and Frederic Goudy's Goudy Sans, showed that it was possible to do much more flavorful, albeit less versatile, designs along the same lines.

In thinking about existing geometric typefaces while designing Hypatia Sans, Phinney considered the relationship between utility and flavor in such typefaces. Both qualities are desirable, but it seemed that the level of each one defined the maximum possible value of the other. He felt that there might be a sweet spot where the total of utility and flavor was maximized, and attempted to aim for that in Hypatia Sans.

"flavor vs utility" graph

Another goal was to make Hypatia Sans as versatile a type family as possible, in both language support and typographic features. Besides features such as oldstyle figures, real small caps, and extensive ligatures, Hypatia Sans takes advantage of stylistic sets (supported in InDesign CS2 and CS3 software) that allow a user to change the appearance of a number of glyphs in a similar way. Although Hypatia Sans has no fewer than 14 stylistic sets, there are several that seem the most useful. Stylistic Set #1 removes the vestigial serifs and makes Hypatia Sans a true sans-serif, while Stylistic Set #2 substitutes more geometric alternate forms of certain letters (agty), and of the ampersand (&). Variant unicase small caps (Stylistic Set #13) round out the typographic palette provided by the typeface.

Hypatia Sans stylistic sets samples
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Although many of Hypatia's typographic features are found in stylistic sets, Hypatia Sans also has discretionary and historical ligatures that provide a variety of joining capitals (just a few shown below) and several archaic ligatures not usually found in sans serif typefaces. Although such unusual features should be used with care, they further expand the typographic palette of the typeface.

Discretionary and historical ligatures
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A State-of-the-Art OpenType Family

Since the creation of the Adobe Originals program in 1989, Adobe Systems has offered progressive new type families and cutting-edge type technology. As a greatly expanded and enhanced OpenType Pro family, Hypatia Sans Pro includes pan-European language coverage and a broad palette of weights. Using the powerful OpenType layout features, the process of composing and fine-tuning text is greatly streamlined. Applications that enable these features — such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop®, and Adobe Illustrator® — enable typographic refinements such as ligatures, small capitals, and oldstyle figures, bringing unprecedented control and sophistication to contemporary typography.

Latin, Greek and Cyrillic samples
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©2007 Adobe Systems Incorporated. Adobe, Hypatia, Illustrator, InDesign, Trajan, and Photoshop are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. OpenType is either a registered trademark or a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Futura is a registered trademark of Bauer Types, S.A. Gill Sans is a trademark of The Monotype Corporation registered in the USPatent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions. Kabel is a Trademark of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG exclusively licensed through Linotype Library GmbH, and may be registered in certain jurisdictions.

03/30/2007 v03 – twp

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