About Sweet Sans Font Family
The engraver’s sans serif—strikingly similar to drafting alphabets of the early 1900s—has been one of the most widely used stationer’s lettering styles since about 1900. Its open, simple forms offer legibility at very small sizes. While there are digital fonts based on this style (such as Burin Sans™ and Sackers Gothic™, among others), few offer the range of styles and weights possible, with the versatility designers perhaps expect from digital type families. Sweet Sans fills that void.
The family is based on antique engraver’s lettering templates called “masterplates.” Professional stationers use a pantograph to manually transfer letters from these masterplates to a piece of copper or steel that is then etched to serve as a plate or die. This demanding technique is rare today given that most engravers now use a photographic process to make plates, where just about any font will do. But the lettering styles engravers popularized during the first half of the twentieth century—especially the engraver’s sans—are still quite familiar and appealing.
Referencing various masterplates—which typically offer the alphabet, figures, an ampersand, and little else—Mark van Bronkhorst has drawn a comprehensive toolkit of nine weights, each offering upper- and lowercase forms, small caps, true italics, arbitrary fractions, and various figure sets designed to harmonize with text, small caps, and all-caps. The fonts are available as basic, Standard character sets, and as Pro character sets offering a variety of typographic features and full support for Western and Central European languages.
Though rich in history, Sweet Sans is made for contemporary use. It is a handsome and functional tribute to the spirit of unsung craftsmanship.
Burin Sans and Sackers Gothic are trademarks of Monotype Imaging.
is a trademark and 'Sweet' is a registered trademark of Markanna Studios Inc.
Sweet Fonts Collection is a growing range of engraving lettering styles from the 20th Century.
With the advent of the engraving machine (a pantograph device) around 1900, commercial engraving moved from the use of hand-cut plates to the use of masterplates (lettering patterns). Lettering was traced from the masterplate using the engraving machine, letter by letter, onto a coated steel plate, that would then be etched in a chemical bath. The resulting plate was used to print engraved stationery with the raised print distinctive to the process. Many of these lettering styles were used for decades for commercial and social applications (letterheads, wedding invitations, etc.), but as they were merely traced alphabets, were not "fonts". Many remain unavailable in digital form.
Over time, a number of the most popular styles were adapted to phototype, which sped up the process of plating for engraving, avoiding the need to trace each letter by hand with the engraving machine. Later, when type went digital, these phototype fonts were revived as digital fonts. As a result, the styles offered by engravers narrowed over time, as has the range of engraving styles revived in digital form.
The Sweet Fonts Collection represents an effort to locate and revive obscure, engraved lettering styles that are at risk of fading away, as well as to re-interpret familiar designs for broader application.