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The ideal typeface for cartography
The Swiss designer/typographer Felix Arnold designed Cisalpin during the late 1990s, after he had challenged himself to create a contemporary typeface that could be used for cartographic uses. Arnold came to the subject of cartographic typefaces after analyzing many maps and atlases, and discovering that there was no standard typeface for these types of documents. Like any good cartographic type, Cisalpin is very legible at small sizes. While he was drawing this typeface on his computer, Arnold used a reduction glass to refine his design, making it work in these situations. Cisalpin is a linear sans serif face, with slight resemblance to renaissance serif types. The various weights are all clearly differentiated from one another. And because space is often a premium on maps, Cisalpin runs narrow. Words close in around themselves to help them become more identifiable. The letterforms in Cisalpin are durable, and can maintain their readability when placed over complex backgrounds. They have open interior forms, flattened curves, tall x-heights, and a capital height that almost reaches the tops of the ascenders. Cisalpin also has pronounced Italics, with a very clear angle of inclination. Each letterform in the family has been optimized so that they cannot be easily mistaken for another. This again helps minimize the misunderstandings that often occur because of illegibility.
Although Cisalpin was developed for use in cartography, it may be used for countless other purposes; any font that can work well in small sizes on a map could be used almost anywhere else!
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