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New Hero unleashed: Newlyn’s geometric sans packs a powerful punch

Initially conceived as part of a major American bank’s branding refresh, New Hero leaps into service as a dynamic family in 20 wide-ranging styles.

In 2007, John Besford, Creative Director at Landor in San Francisco, called on Miles Newlyn to help refine the typography for Citibank. Reunited with his former CD from Wolff Olins, Newlyn began trialing letterforms that would improve the financial giant’s logotype. A breakthrough in the project came when he changed the way the terminals ended in the geometric sans serif they were developing. By cutting the ends vertically instead of at right angles to the stroke path, a fresh look emerged—one more efficient and controlled in personality. This was the starting point for the type family that would become New Hero.

Overview of the many weights of New Hero

New Hero offers four light and three bold weights at the extremeties of the spectrum for respectively delicate and powerful headlines and display typography. The family’s three middle weights are ideal for setting text.

One idea carried over from the bank’s identity was the practical and civic duty of a utilitarian typeface. This steadfast quality is reflected in the timeless geometry of its alphabet, making New Hero suitable for a multitude of applications. The design works well from body text sizes on up to wayfinding and environmental graphic display settings, yet without the self-consciousness of Highway Gothic, DIN, and other typefaces used in national road signage programs. New Hero can be deployed in editorial design and corporate communications, branding, and packaging; any task that requires an all-around type family with a subtle yet distinct personality.

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The Accessibility Set that is activated with OpenType Stylistic Set 1 (SS01) complies with recommendations from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to help people with disabilities and others, such as the elderly, participate equally on the web.

The vertical cuts of the finials give New Hero a clean, crisp appearance. The letterforms hint at the French charm of Antique Olive and the American reliability of Metro. Straightforward, confident character shapes and a generous x-height aid legibility in small sizes and lend impact to titles and headlines. Selecting OpenType Stylistic Set 1 (SS01) activates New Hero’s Accessibility Set: alternate letterforms with increased differentiation for a, g, i, l, I, and 1 to meet accessibility requirements. Ten weights with matching italics give the family a considerable expressive range, from a breathtaking Hairline to a punchy Super. All styles come fully equipped with small caps, several sets of numerals, localized forms, and a series of arrows, and are ready for the most demanding contemporary typography.

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New Hero speaks many languages, and supports Western, Central, and Northern European, Turkish, Greek, and Cyrillic.

New Hero is an international design eminently adapted to an increasingly globalized society. In addition to supporting the Extended Latin character set, the family includes a Cyrillic and Greek drawn by Italian type designer Riccardo Olocco. While beautifully complementing the Latin character set of New Hero, Olocco’s designs are masterful in their own right. The Cyrillic received a special mention in the 2015 Granshan typeface design competition, and the Greek is one of the best on the market. New Hero was also included in Typographica’s Notable Font Releases of 2015. This versatile and expansive family is poised to become a classic among contemporary geometric sans serifs.

Try Newlyn’s latest release for yourself: as with all Type Network offerings, New Hero webfonts may be tested for free for up to 30 days. Read more about New Hero and other great faces in Type Network News: subscribe to our email newsletter to receive the latest updates about new releases, featured foundries, type and design events, and more.