Efficiency in all things.

Not merely designed for newsprint, Mercury was designed for the news column, that impossibly cramped environment where space is always at a premium. Mercury takes every opportunity to make the most of the space available — here’s how.

Mercury Text: Maximal Lowercase

Maximal Lowercase

Every typeface designed for small sizes begins with a large x-height, which helps a font feel bigger than it really is. Where Mercury differs from most newspaper faces is in its ascenders and descenders: many fonts truncate these forms, rather than allowing their shapes to help define the lowercase.

Mercury Text: Cap Height

Minimal Caps

Mercury uncouples the height of the ascenders from the size of the caps, and introduces more compact capitals that help economize on space. As an added benefit, abbreviations set in ALL CAPS merge more seamlessly with the text, a useful advantage for older typesetting systems that aren’t equipped to handle true small caps.

Mercury Text: Cap Width

Efficient Widths

Even many classic newspaper faces have sprawling capitals (Times Roman, despite its popularity, has some of the worst.) Mercury’s capitals have been made as discreet as possible in order to look less conspicuous on the printed page — an especially important feature when setting news stories that are filled with proper names.

Mercury Text: Figure Height

Compact Figures

In traditional book typography, old-style figures are encouraged as the standard accompaniment for upper- and lowercase text. But in a modern journalistic setting, old-style figures look pretentious. For Mercury, we’ve drawn the more conventional lining figures, but provided them at a reduced size that’s more visually sympathetic with the lowercase.

Mercury Text: Apertures

Open Apertures

Mercury’s extroverted forms bring as much air as possible into each character, not only helping prevent ink clogs on press but allowing text to be tracked tightly. Because Mercury’s letters point outward, many characters are narrower than the tightly coiled forms more often used for news text, saving even more space per line.

Mercury Text: Gestures

Clear Gestures

Politeness is for display faces: Mercury’s features roar. Where Times Roman trivializes key details of letters like t and r, Mercury emphasizes these shapes in order to aid recognition, and defend against distortions on press. Characters that are prone to ambiguity, such as punctuation marks, have been especially well articulated.

Get all four grades of Mercury Text for less than the cost of two!

Features

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    Grades. Because type reacts to paper, Mercury has been produced in four different “grades” to give designers total control over their media.

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    Efficiency. With the hardscrabble environment of the newspaper column in mind, Mercury has been designed to be as space-efficient as possible.

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    Range. Mercury’s family tree was carefully planned with actual editorial uses in mind, uses which helped shape the design of its italics, small caps, and boldface.

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    Numerics. For tables and charts, each of Mercury’s styles offers a companion “Numeric” range that contains tabular figures and fractions.

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    Symbols. Mercury contains a wealth of special characters, from directional arrows and pointing fists to ballot boxes and suits of cards.

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    Language Support. OpenType editions of Mercury Text contain our Latin-X™ character set, covering more than 140 languages throughout the world — including all of Central Europe.

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