Whitney: clear for signage, compact for print.

Typefaces for catalogs and brochures need to be narrow enough to work in crowded environments, yet energetic enough to encourage extended reading. But typefaces designed for wayfinding programs need to be open enough to be legible at a distance, and sturdy enough to withstand a variety of fabrication techniques: fonts destined for signage need to anticipate being cast in bronze, etched in glass, cut in vinyl, and rendered in pixels.

While American “gothics” such as News Gothic (1908) have long been a mainstay of editorial settings, and European “humanists” such as Frutiger (1975) have excelled in signage applications, Whitney bridges this divide in a single design. Its compact forms and broad x-height use space efficiently, and its ample counters and open shapes make it clear under any circumstances. And Whitney’s extensive language support, covering more than 200 languages worldwide, has made it a mainstay of diversified brands that require localized typography.

Whitney ScreenSmart: High-Performance Web fonts

Whitney ScreenSmart is an adaptation of the family specifically engineered for the screen, and available for use on the web. To ensure outstanding rendering on screen at sizes as small as nine pixels, we carefully adjusted the fonts’ fit, color, and proportions, and orchestrated their progression of weights so that each style is distinctly different from its neighbors. Like all ScreenSmart fonts, Whitney ScreenSmart is equipped with a set of detailed instructions called “hints,” which tell its outlines how to adapt themselves to pixel grids at different point sizes, to ensure that the fonts always retain both their legibility and their personality


The Whitney typeface was designed by Tobias Frere-Jones in 1996, and redeveloped in collaboration with Jonathan Hoefler beginning in 2000. A commission from the Whitney Museum of American Art, Whitney is a sans serif in the ‘humanist’ style, with letterforms shaped by kinesthesia rather than pure geometry. Designed to satisfy the opposing requirements of museum publications (for spatial economy) and facility signage (for clarity at a distance), Whitney uses compact, energetic, and open letterforms to remain engaging and legible at any size. The nine degree angle, a recurring motif in the typeface, echoes the design of the Whitney Museum’s original home at 945 Madison Avenue, designed in 1966 by Marcel Breuer.

Designed by

Tobias Frere-Jones

With contributions from

Jonathan Hoefler, Jesse Ragan, Joshua Darden

Additional material by

Andy Clymer, Ksenya Samarskaya, Erin McLaughlin, Aoife Mooney, Malou Verlomme, Colin M. Ford; Sara Soskolne, Troy Leinster


Special thanks to Gerry Leonidas, Maxim Zhukov, and Ilya Ruderman

Advance copies of Whitney were circulated under the working title Whitney Sans. These fonts have been replaced by the Whitney Basic and Whitney Condensed packages. Whitney® is a registered trademark of Hoefler&Co.