Service Font modification, Language expansion Partners Occupant Fonts in collaboration with Ford Date 2010

Expanding a character set to reach a global audience

During his tenure as a Senior Custom Designer at Font Bureau in the early 2000s, Cyrus Highsmith experimented with new sans serif forms. Antenna emerged from one of those trials, which introduced squareness into Highsmith’s signature energetic curves. The resulting letterforms were simultaneously calm and tense, vigorous and balanced, with a deliberate rhythm that propelled words forward while keeping the text image grounded. This combination of reliability and dynamism was exactly what Ford, the US-based multinational automaker, was looking for.

“Multinational” is the keyword here. In order for Ford to communicate with a global audience, Antenna’s character set needed to be expanded to include the Cyrillic and Greek alphabets, as well as all necessary accents for composing Vietnamese. In January 2010, Dyana Weissman—now Custom Type Director at Type Network—set about extending the typeface’s language support.

It proved to be a mammoth assignment. Antenna has seven weights in four widths, all with matching italics. Many large type families interpolate, meaning their intermediate styles are generated relatively quickly from the extreme styles using mathematical formulas, but because of its unique design, this isn’t the case with Antenna. Weissman had to correct carefully and fine-tune several of the new characters for each of the fifty-six styles. She was up to the challenge and turned the project around in record time.

The global distribution of Type Network’s foundry partners means that we have access to native speakers for consultation on specific language extensions. If you’re considering expanding the range of your corporate typeface or want to license one that doesn’t (yet) have the requisite character set, we can help you reach an international audience. Contact us for more information or a personalized quote.

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