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You are here: Home / Conferences / Antwerp 2018 / Programme

The true source of the sans

When Wed 12 Sep 1450
Where AP Hogeschool
What Track 1
Who Mr Jon Melton
The search for the origin of today’s commercial sans serif typography has become something of a “holy grail” for type historians. The earliest known example of a deliberately geometrical “serifless” letterform was confirmed back in the late 1990s, on a plan-drawing title block for a new parliamentary building. It was produced whilst on the grand tour by the architect John Soane. Duly exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1779, it marked the start of Soane’s utilising this then-radical letterform on his design drawings and for inscriptions on buildings. Prior to Soane’s exhibited “Design for a British Senate House,” there is a void. Scholars are aware that the sans serif originates within the letterforms of Greece and the informal inscriptions of the Roman Empire. But what inspired Sir John Soane to use it, for what appears to be the very first time? Type designer and academic Jon Melton reveals his extensive research and evidence of “The True Source of the Sans” within a condensed paper that generates a new chapter in type-design history and launches Fount Sans1756, a revival typeface of the 18th century, the legacy for all the countless sans serif fonts today.

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