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American graphic designer William Addison Dwiggins' (W.A.D. for short) first typefaces were the Metro family, designed from 1927 onward. The project grew out of Dwiggins' dissatisfaction with the new European sans serif typefaces of the day, such as Futura, Erbar, and Kabel, a feeling he expressed in his seminal book Layout in Advertising. Urged by Mergenthaler Linotype to create a solution for the problem, Dwiggins began a professional relationship that would span over the next few decades.
The first Metro family typeface to be released was Metroblack, brought to market by Linotype in 1929 (Metroblack #2™ the only one of the two versions that Mergenthaler Linotype eventually put into production which is available in digital form). With more of a humanist quality than the geometric styles popular in Europe at the time, Dwiggins drew what he believed to be the ideal sans serif for headlines and advertising copy. Metroblack has a warmer character than the Modernists' achievements, and the type is full of mannered curves and angled terminals (Metroblack also has an astoundingly beautiful Q).
The weights of the Metro family, Metromedium #2™ and Metrolite #2™, were each designed by Mergenthaler Linotype's design office under Dwiggins' supervision.
In 2012 Toshi Omagari reworked the Metro family as "Metro Nova" with many weights into a modern type family that even contains the alternate characters from the origin Metro family from Dwiggins.
Despite having been created more than three-quarters of a century ago, the Metro family types have aged well, and remain a popular sans serif family. Although spec'd less often than other bestsellers, like Futura, Metro continues to find many diverse uses. The typeface has appeared throughout Europe and the North America for decades in newspapers and magazines, and can even help create a great brand image when used in logos and corporate identity.
Dwiggins ranks among the most influential graphic designers and typeface designers of the 20th Century. He has several other quality fonts in the Linotype portfolio, including the serif text faces Electra™ and New Caledonia™, as well as Caravan™, a font of typographic ornaments.
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