Our weekly look at a favorite new typeface. Share yours with us on Twitter @AIGAdesign and Instagram @AIGAeyeondesign with #TypeTuesday.
Back story: Paul started working on Henderson Sans after completing Henderson Slab, which he based upon upon a few bold caps drawn by Albert Du Bois in the Henderson’s 1906 Sign Painter book. “These inspired me to look at how sign painters approached slab serifs after the Industrial Revolution,” says Paul.
“My exercise in the early lettering roots of what eventually became geometric typography ended up having a life of its own. The majuscules led to minuscules, one idiosyncratic bold weight led to six more, and uprights led to italics. What was kind of interesting in the early 20th century persuaded me to make it interesting enough a century later. This of course meant alternates, swashes, all the standard baggage that keeps calling my name.”
Why’s it called Henderson Sans? “The first thought that crosses a type designer’s mind upon seeing a slab serif is: I wonder what it would look if it was serifless? And so, after building Henderson Slab, I followed my instincts and gave it a sans serif companion,” say Paul. “This sans serif is a glyph-for-glyph match for Henderson Slab, inheriting pretty much all of its features and quirks—simple, endearing, or otherwise.”
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Henderson Sans comes in seven weights plus italics, all of which stay true to the typeface’s craft-based lettering origins. The expected formality of a clean sans serif face gets shaken up with the addition of alternates featuring exuberant swashes and the occasional ball terminal thrown in for good measure. The result is a typeface that is simultaneously serious and playful, fun to be around but never frivolous. The capital R and Q are shockingly good.
What should I use it for? The swashed forms leap out of the phototypesetting era, while the alternates are mostly modern constructs. The result is an alphabet with the ability to function well in modern spaces, from corporate to editorial, in text or display, while both winking and nodding at the original forms of geometric typefaces.
Who’s it friends with? Henderson Slab (duh), and it also looks swell with Typofonderie’s Le Monde Livre.