In the early twentieth century, type foundries started to offer not only bold Antiques and Egyptiennes, but also the first elegant sans-serif typefaces named Grotesks or Grotesques. This new trend influenced the use of and the shape of fonts for more than a century, to this day in fact. Typefaces such as Französische Grotesk, Reform Grotesk, Breite Halbfette Grotesk, Normal Grotesk or Square Gothic¹ can be, without exaggeration, thought of as canons of aesthetic criteria for the majority of modern typefaces.
Urban Grotesk attempts to follow the best of these traditions: rounded arches, slightly thinner connecting strokes and a vertical shadowing axis, where outstrokes are terminated strictly perpendicular to the stroke direction. The primary characteristics are the connection of the rounded stroke to the stem, a round dot, lower and more thrifty uppercase, and generous numerals. The width proportions of characters is almost unified, the text colour creates a unified grey area on a page. An airy metric aids good legibility in shorter texts.
Sans-serif typefaces allow for a wide range of weights; the six rigorously selected weights of Urban Grotesk allow creating ideal inter-combinations. Italics are appropriately tilted and have the useful feature of occupying the same space as the corresponding Regular styles. Besides an incline of ten degrees, highlighting features are also provided by alternative lowercase “a” and “g”, transformed into their single-bowl versions. Small Capitals in all styles are a matter of course.
Urban Grotesk fully utilises OpenType features. Each face has over 800 glyphs and contains for example rigorous diacritics for over fifty Latin languages, ligatures, nine versions of numerals, fractions, or arrows. Alternative characters in stylistic sets allow for significant alteration of the character of texts on a large scale, or can be used to further improve legibility in small sizes. All in all, this exceptional font is a highly universal and all-rounded one.