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.
Contemporary Sans desktop fonts and web fonts contain various OpenType features, which provide advanced typographic performance and can be accessed by almost all professional layout software.
Case Sensitive Forms
When the ‘Change to caps’ function is applied from within an application (not when text is typed in caps), appropriate case-sensitive forms are automatically applied. Parentheses, guillemets, dashes, hyphens and other punctuation marks are replaced with their capital forms.
Ligatures are designed to improve the kerning and readability of certain letter pairs. For example, when this feature is activated, typing ‘f’ and ‘i’ will automatically produce the ‘fi’ ligature. Using ligatures does not affect the spelling and hyphenation of your text in any way.
This feature replaces default alphabetic glyphs with the corresponding ordinal forms.
All Contemporary Sans Italic fonts contain an alternative single-story a and g, accessible via the OpenType feature Stylistic Set 01 or Stylistic Alternates.
Tabular figures are for use in tables where numerals need to be aligned vertically. Tabular figures are available as an OpenType feature and have a fixed width in all weights.
To avoid confusion between a zero and the ‘o’ character, a slashed zero glyph is also available.
All fonts already include a number of pre-designed diagonal fractions. The fraction feature allows you to create other fractions quickly and easily.
Superscript / superiors
Replaces all figures with their superior alternates, which can be used for footnotes, formulas, etc.
Subscript / inferiors
Replaces all figures with their inferior alternates, used primarily for mathematical or chemical notation.