DEVELOPMENT / 2011-10-20

About the Relevant Typeface

A sample of the Record Gothic typeface in Ben Rosen’s specimen book ‘Typos – Das Grosse Buch der Druckschriften’ from the early 1960s provided the starting point for the development of our Relevant. Particularly the medium-wide, normal-weight font was of interest as it appears fairly clean and settled compared to other font weights. Record Gothic was designed in 1927 by Robert Hunter Middelton for Ludlow Typograph Company.







The Ludlow Noncomposing Linecasters machine was the most common brand of noncomposing linecaster.
It was used primarily at the larger point sizes to produce headlines and similar material.
(Photos: Museum Industriële Archeologie & Textiel Gent, Belgium and ©nevolution)






The Ludlow company produced a ‘non-composing’ linecaster featuring simple and quick handling, which was primarily used for larger font sizes and headlines. Linking the name ‘Record’ with the technique of highly efficient hot metal typesetting created a successful synergy of name and function. The term ‘record’ stands for recording or dataset, but also peak performance.

The idea of bringing efficiency into play, thereby claiming to achieve type legibility on a purely technical level, and juxtaposing a schoolbook typeface, which was used in German-speaking Switzerland until the 1980s, with the Record Gothic, this was the formal and conceptual approach behind the creation of the Relevant typeface.

These different approaches to type, the Record Gothic as well as the schoolbook typefaces by Just van Rossum were important references for the development of the Relevant. Schoolbook fonts are mostly characterized by their simplified open forms and are, therefore, regarded as ‘reader friendly,’ but this notion pertains more to writing socialization than to typeface legibility.



A sample of the Record Gothic typeface in Ben Rosen’s specimen book ‘Typos – Das Grosse Buch der Druckschriften’ from the early 1960s, R. Hunter Middleton for Ludlow, 1927



Schulbuch Süd / Just van Rossum, by FontFont in 1991



Schulbuch Süd / Just van Rossum, by FontFont in 1991



On the one hand, the Relevant’s small, one-story or one-eyed ‘a’ is a reference to schoolbook type and cursive script, on the other, the attachment of a terminal (Record Gothic) makes it a typographically unconventional interpretation. The appearance of this open and simple shape provided the basis for all the other characters. The deliberately low contrast and only slight tapering are references to handwriting (pointed nib).







The ‘Relevant’ typeface emerged from a typographic attempt to create a font family with a systematic architecture, both in terms of development and design, and, at the same time, maintain optimum legibility and readability.





Additional typographic functions/OpenType features such as ligatures, proportional lining figures, superscript, numerator and denominator to build fractions, and additionally an alternated “a” version of the feature “Titling Alternates” or “Stylistic Set 1.”






Design by Michael Mischler and Nik Thoenen, 2007;
revised 2017 to Relevant PRO with
Cyrillic and Greek

Relevant in BL-Typewriter
Relevant Webfont