Sans Serif typefaces have existed since ancient times. The concept of serifs was first introduced by the Romans. But even among Roman inscriptions are subtler examples where the serifs are only hinted at and barely visible. And it is these ancient inscriptions that increasingly caught people’s interest in this writing form in the 1800s. In fact, the first sans serif devised for printing (by William Caslon IV, 1816) is an homage to Roman capital letters, but sans serif and with monolinear strokes.
The common printed letters of the 1800s were highly contrasted serif typefaces that today are classified as neo-classical Antiqua. So it is unsurprising that the idea of stroke thickness was largely fused with the concept of sans serif typefaces. The first sans serif typefaces of the 1800s were primarily heavy display typefaces, which posed problems particularly for the more tightly packed lowercase letters of the monolinear typefaces. This is why, where necessary for legibility, the stroke contrast was summarily increased. Most of the typefaces of the 18th and 19th Centuries derive their charm from this resulting idiosyncrasy. However, Contemporary Sans doesn’t possess this haphazard aspect as all stroke weights have been kept consistent for optimum legibility. The consequent typeface is less monotonous but still elegant, which is why it can be used both for longer texts and headlines, for example in books or magazines.
Key characteristics of this unusual sans serif are the high contrast of vertical and horizontal strokes, the inward facing and dynamic terminals, the rounded transition between the joint to the shoulder, and the angular dots.
The true italics contain a single-story a and g, to reflect the more calligraphic roots of the italic.
Contemporary Sans creates a sharp and distinctive image of text.