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« Hypatia Sans typeface finally shipping

As many folks in the font biz already know, a while back I designed a typeface called Hypatia Sans. The upright faces were made available as a registration incentive for Adobe Creative Suite 3, but the typeface wasn’t available at retail, awaiting the completion of italics to go with it. Three years (!) later, the italics are finally available, and Adobe has released the typeface as a regular retail item. The italics in particular are available at a heavy discount, for those who already have the upright faces as part of CS3 (something I had arranged when I was at Adobe, as I wanted there to be an inexpensive upgrade for existing users). The new version of Hypatia Sans also adds a few more characters, and corrects some minor bugs.

Hypatia Sans poster style sample

Hypatia Sans poster on Adobe’s site, click for high-​res PDF.

All told, it took me five years part time to do the upright faces, and then a total of three years for first me and then Paul Hunt to finish the italics. Both Paul and I had considerable input from master type designer Robert Slimbach, and he and Miguel Sousa did the kerning of the upright faces when I ran out of time before the CS3 ship.

You can read about the design process of the italics and get some idea of why it took so long from Adobe’s type blog, or go to the Adobe store to buy the typeface (links to the US store, international stores should have it soon):

With the upright faces having been available for so long, it has already seen a fair bit of use, despite the lack of italics. Although I occasionally spot it myself, colleagues often send me examples of it in use. I’ve now seen it in plenty of documents, not only for headings, but even for body text in places ranging from a Sharper Image gadget catalog to $pread, a magazine by and for sex workers. I’ve seen it on business cards from graphic designers and in a visual identity for an architect. Besides those, here are a few of the other uses I’ve collected over the years (click on any one to get a bigger picture or go to a web site):

Starbucks uses Hypatia Sans for the titling on the label of its House Blend coffee.
photo of Starbucks House Blend package

This Seattle garage door company uses Hypatia Sans… it’s not great typography, but their pickup truck was the first time I saw Hypatia Sans on a vehicle. (I drove by it several times over the course of a couple weeks before I stopped and took a picture. It was parked in between home and the hospital, and I was driving to the hospital every day for two months.)
photo of truck with lettering on the side

Here’s a more impressive vehicular use: a banner for the USS Pampanito, a WW2 submarine docked in San Francisco.
photo of submarine at dock

In the same city, the SF Asian Art Museum used Hypatia Sans to promote their exhibition of the art of Bhutan.
photo of front of museum, displaying banner

Finally, here are a couple of web sites that use Hypatia Sans. I was reminded of in particular earlier this week when I saw their site used as an example in a talk at “An Event Apart” in Boston. uses Hypatia Sans throughout. Their logo uses it as well, but customized with modified serifs.
image of web site

This dental site is a more basic use:
image of Valley Dentistry web site

4 commentsto “Hypatia Sans typeface finally shipping”

  • May 29, 2010
    Thomas Kunz wrote

    Hello Thomas,

    very nice work. Congratulations!

    The italics have the uppercase ß (unicode 1E9E) wich is not included in the romans delivered as a registration incentive with CS3. Is there any possibility to get an upgrade for the romans?

    Best wishes,

    [I don’t think there’s currently any path to update existing fonts from Adobe. You’d have to contact them to be sure, however. – T]

  • July 16, 2010
    Jonathan Louie wrote

    With such deep language support within Hypatia, what would be the most efficient way in a layout program, to access and make sure when using romanized Japanese, for proper names as an example, to express the macrons over only certain vowels? Do you recommend I go into the opentype option in the Character panel?And from there, setup a Character Style? Is there a simpler more direct way of inputting those special characters?

    This is for a museum publication on the Japanese Mingei roots of Hello Kitty. Seriously!

    [Characters with accents on them are different characters; that’s not something you can change with a style setting, at least not with a properly constructed font. You can use an appropriate character selection mechanism such as CharMap on Windows, or switch your OS keyboard settings to a keyboard that allows direct input of those characters. Elizabeth Pyatt at Penn State has some great detailed advice. – T]

  • November 24, 2010
    Tenzin wrote

    Hello Thomas, thank you for these nice fonts and all the different style options!

    I wonder with what Serif or Sans Serif Fonts Hypatia is compatible? I couldn’t find any hint in the internet and the “Great Book of Font Combinations” does not include Hypatia.

    Since I am no typo profi, I would like to ask for you suggestion /​ opinion with what fonts Hypatia Sans could be well combined.

    Thanks a lot,

  • December 3, 2010
    Mick Leaber wrote

    Hi Thomas. Hypatia Sans seems to be a character strong typeface and I wonder with what fonts it good be well combined. Do you have some suggestions? Thanks a lot.

    [I like to use it with humanist and transitional serif faces. I’ve liked it with Minion, Arno, and Janson. — T]

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