DEVELOPMENT / 2014-11-02

About the Korpus Grotesk

The ‘Korpus Grotesk’ is a continuation and translation of the typographic vocabulary of the serif ‘Korpus’ into a sans-serif font family. It is based on the same transfer philosophy. While the ‘Korpus’ reflects features of hot metal typesetting, the ‘Grotesk’ draws on the technical characteristics of phototypesetting.















Scan magnification of a phototype-setting ‘e’ in offset printing

Korpus Grotesk C
For the optomechanical phototypesetting typical halation simulated by rounded corners


Illustrations of modified light matrices in order to achieve a certain result during exposure.

From left to right:
original characters / its exposure result /
modified characters / its exposure result
Source: Electronic Composition, N.E. Berg, 1975




To compensate the loss from the exposure transfer, phototypesetting had to sharpen the corners of the glyphs, otherwise they would have been rounded and would have caused fuzzy typeface in the printing process. This fuzziness, in return, aroused our interest and it was the link to the previous investigation of the serif.






For the sans serif, formal redefinitions and changes in the proportions were necessary. The modeling of the font contrast without the loss of identity within the entire font family is still challenging.
The work on the ‘Grotesk’ can be seen as reflection and interpretation of our own previous work on the serif font while retaining the proportions and the rhythm of the underlying typeface.

The individual glyphs widths, originated by the serifed typeface, shape the character and determine the rhythm of the Grotesk. The inconsistent widths, open and introverted forms with their inherent white space allow a faster recognition of a letter group and contribute to a better readability.










The word recognition model that says words are recognized as complete units is the oldest
model in the psychological literature. The general idea was that we see words as a complete patterns rather than the sum of letter parts.
The model that most psychologists currently accept as most accurate is the parallel letter recognition model. This model says that the letters within a word are recognized simultaneously, and the letter information is used to recognize the words.

The two font families ‘Korpus’ and ‘Korpus Grotesk’ have been harmonised
to allow for alternating use in body copy.







Design by Michael Mischler & Nik Thoenen, 2014
Korpus Grotesk Font in BL Typewriter
Korpus Grotesk Webfont
Korpus Grotesk Glyph Set


About the Korpus development