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The Ysobel™ typeface family is not only elegant; it is also exceptionally legible and space economical. A collaborative design effort between Robin Nicholas, as lead designer and project director, Delve Withrington and Alice Savoie of Monotype Imaging, the project had the primary design goal of creating a typeface family for setting text in newspapers and periodicals. The result, however, is also ideal for any application that requires quick and easy assimilation of text.
According to Nicholas, “The idea for the design started when I was asked to develop a custom version of Century Schoolbook. I wanted to give the design a more contemporary feel, although the client ultimately decided to keep their typeface closer to the original. The project nevertheless gave me ideas for a new design. Since designing Nimrod, some 30 years ago, I had wanted to make a more modern typeface family for newspapers and magazines – this seemed the ideal candidate.”
Ysobel (pronounced “Isabel”) has the soft, inviting letter shapes of Century Schoolbook but contrasts these with more incised serifs and terminals. Its capitals are also narrower than those of Century Schoolbook, and care was taken to ensure that they harmonize perfectly with the lowercase. Ysobel’s x-height is full-bodied without disrupting lowercase proportions. In addition, curved terminals, such as those in the “C,” “c” and “e,” were drawn more open as an aid to legibility and readability in text copy. Weight stress is near vertical, and hairlines are robust to ensure character fidelity in small point sizes.
Development began with the text version of the family, which has four weights, each with an italic companion. All weights feature lining and old style numerals, fractions, superiors and extended Latin language coverage. Small caps are also available in the Roman Regular design. Ysobel Display is a completely redrawn version of the typeface; it is narrower, and has a slightly smaller x-height, thinner hairlines and subtle design changes to improve its appearance when set at large sizes.
The Display Italic received particular attention to make it ideal for setting headlines, subheads and short blocks of copy. Changes include a slightly greater italic angle and more cursive treatment of some letter shapes. Alternative styles of capital “J” and “Q,” to provide variation, are available in all weights.
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