Discover legacy content from, preserved for your reference.

Extra Light: Humanist Sans Serifs | FontShop
Please update your browser. Why?

Extra Light: Humanist Sans Serifs

Stephen Coles
Last edited June 01, 2014

Sans serif fam­i­lies some­times include a “Hair­line” or “Thin” font meant for large sizes. The fol­low­ing are those sans type­faces with a weight thin­ner than “Light”.

See more extra light fonts »

Sarcasm is more a shield than a lance

Mike Abbink’s initial concept with FF Milo was to create a compact sans with very short ascenders and decenders. This resulted in a versatile typeface that’s well suited to magazine and newspaper typography. The typeface was named after a resilient grain, hinting at its ability to serve as a design staple. In later releases the design was expanded upon with FF... Read More

Remember to pillage before you burn

The family that became FF Meta was first called PT55, an economical typeface made for easy reading at small sizes created for the West German Post Office in 1985. Erik Spiekermann later improved and expanded his design to include more weights and styles, and prepared its release as FF Meta, one of the first and truly foundational members of the early FontFont library. As desktop publishing... Read More

The soil bean burns the beef

A popular choice within the FontFont library, FF Clan is an extensive family from Polish designer Łukasz Dziedzic. A contemporary sans with modestly squared curves, FF Clan comprises seven weights across an astonishing six widths. Dziedzic’s strong, readable types feature a large x-height, short descenders, and small caps for all weights. The thin weight is delicate but impactful, ideal for... Read More

Law prohibits underwater smoking

Xavier Dupré’s FF Absara is a work of French proportions, but its shapes take influence from the Dutch style: less polished, and more direct. Its casualness refers to humanist written forms. FF Absara’s rough cut makes it interesting at display sizes, but thanks to its generous x-height and firm serifs, FF Absara works equally well setting text. The typeface’s idiosyncratic italic creates a... Read More

Smoking is friend of mental activity

A grown-up, no-nonsense sibling to Erik Spiekermann’s popular FF Meta, FF Unit irons out many of the quirks of its predecessor, dialing back the warmth to a comfortable, if a bit cool, room temperature. Set at small sizes, FF Unit’s legibility is aided by its increased contrast and simplified forms, all of which (a, g, i, j, l, U, M) have alternates. First released in 2003, FF Unit later... Read More

Go on with your bad self

FF Kievit explores the synthesis of the sans serif form to the structure and proportions of a traditional Renaissance Roman such as Garamond or Granjon. Work began on the typeface in 1995 when Mike Abbink was a student at Art Center in California. The family spans nine weights and includes small caps, true italics, and multiple figure sets – everything necessary for creating sophisticated... Read More

Careful tiny grass is dreaming

Mundo Sans, from Carl Crossgrove, is a design that's going to be around for a good long while. In the more than ten years of on-and-off development Crossgrove devoted to the project, he was able to polish the design to its current unpretentious luster. This is a typeface with legs."There were several humanist sans typefaces that I admired when I began work on Mundo in 1991. I used these designs... Read More

Hell with the dog, beware of wife

The aim with this enhancement of Hans Reichel’s mega-popular FF Dax typeface was to balance the contrast so that the letters would work better in long texts at small point sizes. FF Daxline is wider than its predecessor, and the capitals are larger. There is even a lighter version than light: thin. The result is a much more consistent, versatile family without abandoning the distinctive... Read More

Life’s a bitch, and I’m a dog

Created by German designer Jürgen Weltin, Linotype's Agilita is a contemporary humanist sans serif family with a wide variety of weights, including both ultra thin hairline options and heavier, dark type. Agilita has rather classical proportions; its clear ascenders and descenders lend more distinct word shapes. Weltin's design has a dynamic, yet strong and very functional appearance with a... Read More

Slaughter is the best medicine

FF Speak is Danish designer Jan Maack’s rounded sans. Maack’s express aim was to capture the tone and feeling of youthful conversation. FF Speak’s smooth, energetic letterforms can be used in different ways to vary the intended mood, depending on the weights and amount of extra ligatures employed. Its light weight carries regular speech, and a heavy weight speaks more loudly. Regular and bold... Read More

Fat people are harder to kidnap

This lively sans combines plain shapes with calligraphic touches. FF Sanuk’s roman letterforms are clean and crisply drawn, but their stylish detailing showcases Dupré’s artistic spirit. Modestly sloped, indeed, nearly upright italics convey a contemporary air while maintaining a high degree of legibility. The seven-weight family progresses in tone from a delicate hairline to a chunky fat face,... Read More

Michael Abbink and Paul van der Laan
FontFont 2006
Erik Spiekermann, Oded Ezer and Akaki Razmadze
FontFont 1991
Lukasz Dziedzic
FontFont 2007
Xavier Dupré
FontFont 2004
Erik Spiekermann and Christian Schwartz
FontFont 2003
Michael Abbink and Paul van der Laan
FontFont 2001
Luc(as) de Groot
Luc(as) de Groot
LucasFonts 2022
Volker Küster
Elsner+Flake 1988
Carl Crossgrove
Monotype 2002
Hans Reichel
FontFont 2005
Jürgen Weltin
Linotype 2006
Jan Maack
FontFont 2007
Xavier Dupré
FontFont 2006