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GM Ergo


Ergo -- Energy -- a vigorous comingling of efforts and ideas, in a powerful yet peaceable, fierce yet friendly face for making your point and getting it across -- in whichever languages your audience uses.

Selected for First Prize, Text Category in the 1997 Linotype Second International Typeface Design Contest sponsored by Linotype-Hell AG of Eschborn, Germany.

Here's what type designer Adrian Frutiger, leader of the contest jury, said in PAGE Magazine about Ergo: "Die Agora [the name is now Ergo-gm] ist die beste der eingereichten Textschriften, unter anderem deshalb, weil sie konsequent durchdacht ist."

"It is the best of the text category entries, because, among other reasons, it is consistently thought out."

"Sie besitzt einen sehr geschmeidigen Charakter,... Die Formen sind klassisch aufgebout, und die Abstimmung der Fetten ist gelungen."

"It posesses a very supple character,...the forms are classically built up, and the exact tone of the weights is successful."

Dazu hat Gary Munch [that's me] eine kyrillisch Version gezeichnet, die auch sehr gut aussieht."

Also, GM has drawn a Cyrillic version that also has a very nice appearrance"
{mf [thanks to Mark Fuller for help with translating]}

And here's what I have to say about the design of Ergo: Ergo embodies a new appreciation for the Humanist impulse, married to the Italic calligraphy renascence. The family bears a clear relationship within the category of Humanist Sans to other, greater works such as Frutiger, Syntax, and Lucida, and to some aspects of the Macintosh's bitmaps. Ergo is a meeting of modern and traditional concepts in the dynamic marketplace of today; a unifying synthesis that is a new and unique creation in itself and a new and yet familiar vehicle for communication that's ready to race into the next millennium.

The majuscules use proportions that relate to the ancient Roman inscriptionals so essential to the early Renaissance Humanists. The minuscule uses the Italic style of construction for the bowls in both the roman and italic styles, but with nicks appropriate to each style: small and restrained in the roman and large and cursive in the italic. A modest obliquity of 6 degrees is sufficient to mark the italic as different from the roman, and helps retain the high readability of the roman. Ascenders are rather long and prominent, because a reading face must have these distinctions for clear recognition en masse.

I'm particularly pleased with the solution of the curve terminals -- their counters are open-apertured, the strokes seemingly flat, but subtly curved and tapered so the strokes are simultaneously straight and curved. The rounded letters are seemingly symmetrical but are actually weighted in the areas that are traditionally heavier in calligraphy (lower left and upper right). This accounts for the gentle forward encouragement of the eye in the direction of reading, and contributes greatly to the fonts' readability.

The glyphs went through numerous permutations until the present form was chosen as best suited for the family. There's a seemingly endless cycle of tweak, generate, install, print, check, ink-and-pencil touch-up, match curve to touch-up, tweak; and again and again, always with an eye on the particular problem glyph and both eyes on the font as a whole.

The sidebearings and spacings of Ergo have been expertly adjusted by the Linotype Library. Reinhard Haus and Klaus Sutter have done marvelous work, making each weight and style of Ergo "laeuft ruhiger" -- run peacefully, flow smoothly, read easily. I'm really happy with the changes, as well as the many other improvements they suggested from the contest versions.

A Cyrillic family is in progress, as well as a Greek and Hebrew. A Condensed family looks particularly suited for signage or restrictive text areas, and a tiny family of Compressed looks good for those -really- tight spaces. The Serif version is coming along nicely also.

Ergo will be available to attendees of typo[media] 97, and afterwards from Linotype Library GmbH.

Ergo has been chosen as the corporate face for Casema Network, a major cable/internet corporation based in the Netherlands (http://www.casema.nl), and by Giarte (http://www.digitalboardroom.com and http://www.giarte.com), a consulting company in Amsterdam selected Ergo too as their corporate face. Great choice!