About this font family
ALS Direct is an open and dynamic typeface with clear-cut letterforms that make it instantly readable. It lends text a neutral, yet agreeable and modern feel.
Direct has nine font styles convenient for the purposes of navigation signage. Regular-style letterforms are rather wide, because direction signs are likely to appear before readers at an angle, so the type needs to withstand perspective distortions. And as signs and boards may vary in size, Direct was developed to include several width variations. Condensed fonts can be used where horizontal space is limited, allowing you to keep proper height and readability of the characters. More…
A signage typeface must be easily readable from some distance away and have simple letterfoms with clear-cut features to quickly identify characters. Designing a type for a potentially wide range of purposes calls for a universal approach. If not destined to be used for navigation in a particular building, it shouldn’t incorporate any peculiar elements to agree with certain design or architecture.
All of the above determined our choice of a sans serif with large apertures and definite features allowing readers to instantly recognize letters. Descenders are made compact not to interfere with the line below. And the low contrast between thick and thin strokes renders all elements equally perceptible.
The x-height is significant, close to the cap height, which inhances readability of the lowercase type. There are two reasons why directions must not be set in all caps. Firstly, lowercase letters are more diverse and include ascenders and descenders identifying some of the letters in the line. And secondly, having learned to read, people recognize word shapes rather than individual letters, which makes lowercase text more readable.
With Direct being a signage typeface, first to be developed were its width variations, and different weight styles and italics were added later. Another thing to be kept in mind was that signs often use dark background colors, and black type on a white background appears smaller than white type on a black background.
Direct is the first Cyrillic typeface created for navigation purposes. Before that, designers could use the Cyrillic version of Frutiger (Freeset) developed by Adrian Frutiger for the Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport, and a number of other, mostly body copy, neutral sans serif types. However, signs and boards were dominated by Arial, which Direct would be glad to replace offering elegance and lucidity of form instead of type bluntess.
Direct was designed as a signage typeface, but its neutral style and clear-cut letterforms suggest various other ways of application.