The market for humanistic sans serif type families is saturated, so what can a new release add, and what does it take to stand out from the crowd?
Asterisk Sans Pro (named after my favourite glyph to make) aims to be a highly versatile type family; massively useful due to its pan-European language support and bounty of OpenType features which make it the ideal choice for demanding typography. The look is contemporary; details which give the fonts character at large sizes all but disappear when small, making the middle weights suitable for large chunks of text. The family ranges from a hairline ultra light to a pretty weighty black – a must in a new typeface.
Asterisk Sans Pro supports Latin, modern Greek and Cyrillic, with localized forms for Bulgarian, Serbian and Macedonian to boot. This is rare enough, but to have small caps for all these scripts in both upright and italic fonts is a big plus. Your client may not need all this language support right now, but this typeface gives them the option to grow while keeping a consistent look, and at a similar price point to families with a much narrower scope.
The ability to customize Asterisk Sans Pro through the use of Stylistic Sets in OpenType savvy layout programs means you are really in control. Want more italic forms in the uprights? Go for it. A more Roman italic? Easy! The spurless m, n, r and u, accessible through SS13 give a graphic, almost bauhaus feel. The Dutch IJ glyph can be changed to a much cooler thing using SS14, and the family even supports ij-acute.
Other OpenType features include a wealth of numeral styles (tabular and proportional, lining and oldstyle, plus small cap figures, numerators, denominators, subscript and superscript) and automatic fractions. There are also case-sensitive forms for all caps settings, a bunch of useful arrows, and superscript lower case Latin letters. All in, there are well over 1200 glyphs per font, making Asterisk Sans Pro an invaluable tool in your typeface arsenal, great for everything from corporate identities to editorial work, apps to cookbooks.
Type foundry in Sheffield, UK. Its designer, Dave Rowland (b. 1982, Chesterfield) grew up in Sheffield, UK, but was based in Japan, the Philippines, Liverpool, Surat Thani, Thailand, and Koh Samui, Thailand [where he presently lives].
Where to buy: FONTSPRING
Where to buy: MYFONTS