Vitesse (Slab Serif Font): Tuesday Type Treat

Vitesse, a snazzy slab serif font from Hoefler & Frere-Jones, can best be compared to a typographic sports car:

Instead of using the rounded rectangle as a motif, the strategy we devised for Vitesse was to use a more sophisticated shape as its central theme: a modified rectangle with flat surfaces above and below, gently curved sides, and quick turns at the corners. The complexity of these ingredients allows Vitesse to escape the grid when necessary, helping to preserve both the natural poise of intricate letters, and the typeface’s personality throughout its complete range of styles. The design that emerged has many of the qualities of a beloved sports car: Vitesse is agile, steady, suave, confident, and stylish.

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Different from the likes of 19th and 20th century slab serifs, Vitesse employs the rounded rectangle form described above instead of an ellipse- or circular-shaped model. You may recognize the ellipse form in H&FG’s Sentinel, while Archer boasts a circular form. This versatile font comes in twelve styles ranging from thin to black with italic versions of each, which allow it to be used in everything from headlines to infographics. If you are looking for a sans serif to accompany Vitesse, look no farther than its type cousin Forza. Vitesse is available for purchase at

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Want to create your own slab serif? Start with the Mastering Typography Ultimate Collection at

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