From Markeur, his first-ever professional type design for Joh back in 1972 to Sanserata, his latest type design in 2016 Gerard Unger’s legacy is alive and kicking in full force again online.
Spain based Ashler Design, a collaboration between two people, Elena Ramírez, web designer and UX expert, and Octavio Pardo, graphic and type designer decided to pay a very welcoming tribute to Unger, resurrecting his website back from oblivion.
“Gerard Unger died on 23 November 2018. His personal website went down a few months later, which I found out while talking about him in a type design course” explains Ashler of Remembering Gerard Unger.
The website is up and running, almost exactly-ish the way it was. As Ashler puts it, “almost like he was still among us”
“It was a personal shock, like a sudden realization that he was really gone. Using web archive, we have brought his website back to life as a small homage to a professor that not only inspired several generations of type designers but was also an outstanding human being. Gerry Leonidas describes him beautifully here.”
“To be precise, this is not exactly his original website. We have removed a subtle but charming animation he created in his logo because it was using Flash technology. We also added another slot in his type design collection because Sanserata, his latest release, was missing from the collection. We thought it would be great to have it there as well. The rest is exactly-ish the way it was. Almost like he was still among us.”
A perfect gift to all by Ashler aka one grateful student of a type design legend is live here.
Unger on Markeur, 1972
“My first professional type design was Markeur, for Joh. Enschedé & Zonen, Haarlem. By 1970 Enschedé’s last punchcutter, Henk Drost, had few opportunities to practice his original craft, so the type foundry had looked for a new sort of work: signage, with letters, cut into laminated plastic sheets. For this purpose, Sem Hartz had designed Panture (1971), a series of seriffed capitals.”
“Markeur was designed as a sans serif alternative. Usually engraved lettering of this kind is the same thickness all over, like din letters. Drost pointed out that if he wanted to produce perfect letters he had to go through the groove twice anyway.”
“ If these two tracks were made not to overlap each other exactly but were slightly offset, it was possible to create letters with different thicknesses. The rounded corners are the result of using rotating bits.”
Unger on Sanserata, 2016
“Sanserata’s originality does not overtly present itself at text sizes. Rather, at those sizes, it draws upon its enormous x-height, short extenders, and articulated terminals to improve readability, especially on screens.”
“Having articulated terminals means characters flare as they near their end, but readers likely won’t notice. What they would notice is that their ability to take in more content in a line of text is improved because the letter shapes are more defined. Articulation also makes clearer text from digital sources, where rectangular endings tend to get rounded by the emission of light from the screen.”
“Lately there seems a whispered discontent with the lack of progress in the sans serif category. Designs can either stretch too far beyond what is accepted or be too bland to be considered new. Sanserata’s strength is in being vivid and unique without being off-putting. This bodes well for designers of paragraphs and of branding schemes since, with Sanserata’s two flavors, it is well able to capture attention or simply set the tone.”
“Sanserata’s first voice is a generous, friendly, and even cheerful sans serif. But when using the alternate letterforms its voice becomes more businesslike, though still with nice curves, generous proportions, and a pleasant character.”
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