I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Type Designer Jim Ford and talk about his most recent typeface design for Monotype – Quire Sans. Jim graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2005 with a degree in graphic design, and has notched up custom typefaces for agencies and publishers to software manufacturers and game developers. Over the years, Jim has also created his own designs from traditional text faces to innovative display lettering, and illustrations in his portfolio.
10 Years of Type Design Culminates in Jim Ford’s Quire Sans
The Quire Sans typeface is a family of 20 typefaces designed for all media, including branding, advertising and packaging, user interfaces, billboards, signage and environmental graphics.
The name, Quire Sans is derived from the word, quire – a printing term from the 15th century for a collection of printed leaves, folded and ready for manuscript binding. Ford drew from an experimental design to create a sans serif typeface that would encompass all periods of type history. He looked to orchestrate the interplay between the rich typographic details of historic book publishing typefaces with the modern styling of designs for electronic media.
According to Jim, Quire Sans is a reflection of his personal style, presented in the most minimal fashion. It’s the latest creation from a multi-talented designer.
Figure 1, 2 & 3: Quire Sans in use in print, tablet and signage
Quire Sans: An Intuitive Blend of Old and New
The typeface forms are based on classic Roman lines and proportions with a slightly narrower width than many sans serifs designs, so less space is required – making it more space efficient and versatile.
While designing the typeface, Ford made a conscious effort to maintain “friendliness” in every shape, ensuring a “personal signature” in every letter. This helps to bridge the gap between those traditional printing and publishing faces, and those typefaces designed for screens.
Figure 4 & 5
The Quire Sans typeface family is comprised of 10 weights ranging from thin to fat, in regular proportions and with true italics, providing options to establish color and contrast in a range of settings. Most importantly, Jim Ford designed Quire Sans with proportional figures (instead of tabular) in the default position for improved typography for the widest variety of uses. In addition, OpenType features such as small caps and ligatures provide users with a rich palette of choices to explore.
Have a taste for more type design? Check out the Mastering Type Download Collection. You’ll get a comprehensive look at type and type tools, to help you make better type decisions.