Clarity that invites and sustains.
Since the brief for Whitney included a range of signage applications, its forms were shaped with both distance reading and material fabrication in mind. Each of Whitney’s design strategies serves the font in both two and three dimensions.
A careless design motif can doom a sans serif to either blandness or eccentricity. Whitney’s visual themes are quiet but insistent, its steady use of the same recurring angle helping to give small size text a lively hum, and producing in larger sizes a subtle but identifiable feature of the design.
Heavy strokes that intersect at right angles produce the illusion of swelling, an effect that worsens with the application of ink. But intersections that are overly attenuated can be difficult to maintain throughout a range of weights — and can yield a dimensional letterform that’s impossible to fabricate. Whitney’s branches are carefully planned to resist distortion or material weakness, producing letterforms that are stable over a wide range of sizes and applications.
All of Whitney’s design themes — squarish curves, articulate branches, and extroverted terminals — are in the service of creating large counters. These large interior spaces maintain the font’s clarity at small sizes, helping defend against the effects of limited resolution (whether it’s a shortage of pixels or an abundance of ink.)