Introducing the Ringside Family by Hoefler&Co.

Ringside is the latest typeface family from Hoefler&Co. Famous for creating long-lived typefaces that are marked by both high performance and high style, H&Co’s print, web, and mobile fonts help shape the communications of the world’s foremost publications, institutions, and brands. In 2009, the company became the first type foundry ever to be recognized by the National Design Awards at the White House, an honor it received again in 2011. H&Co typefaces are in the permanent collections of both the Smithsonian Institution and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.A.ringsideA.ringside10

Ringside is an expansive, stylish sans serif family that was designed not only for versatility, but also to avoid the blandness of many digital super-families. Instead of relying on homogenous shapes that can be predictably stretched in different directions, each version has customized design details intended to ensure that every style is visually distinctive. Ringside was a team effort by the designers at Hoefler&Co. A three-year project, Ringside was led by H&Co. founder Jonathan Hoefler, senior designer Sara Soskolne, and type designer Troy Leinster, and features additional contributions by Andy Clymer, Colin M. Ford and Jordan Bell.h2.ringside17

Ringside includes 172 font styles, making it H&Co.’s largest family ever. The family comprises three different kinds of fonts. The multipurpose Ringside fonts designed for print, include 96 styles: six widths, each in eight weights, each in roman and italic. For the web, the companion Ringside ScreenSmart collection has been specially designed and engineered for the screen, with 60 styles comprised of six widths, each in five weights, each in roman and italic. For business users, there is Ringside Office, which are four packages optimized for use in business applications like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.E.ringside5As.ringside6H.ringside13

Twenty years ago, H&Co.’s Knockout collection was designed to celebrate the beauty and diversity of nineteenth-century sans serif wood types, one of America’s great contributions to type history. Picking up where this project left off, Ringside is a sans serif shaped by new challenges, new influences, and new ideas. Where Knockout was designed for headlines, Ringside is made for text. Its proportions, fit, and details are designed to thrive at the smallest sizes, and each of its weights and widths includes that most essential quality of a dependable text face: a companion italic. Extended character sets that include tabular figures and fractions ensure that designers can use the fonts to express even the most complex information, as well as six parallel families of ScreenSmart webfonts ensure that Ringside performs flawlessly on every kind of screen. B.ringside7 C.ringside8

What’s In A Name?

As mentioned earlier, the idea for Ringside grew out of the Knockout typeface, which in turn grew out of Champion Gothic, one of H&Co.’s first typeface commissions designed for Sports Illustrated in 1990. Since Ringside has been steeped in this heritage, its family name pays tribute to the boxing ring. The various versions of Ringside echo one of the family’s core design strategies: in its more compact styles, Ringside’s round letters like O are racetrack-shaped, with flat sides and curves at the top and bottom, but in the family’s wider widths, they become fully elliptical. Shapes with either kind of side can be called a ring.

Family Members

Ringside Narrow and Regular have the familiar visual rhythm of a text face. Both were designed with especially small sizes in mind, and include tabular figures that are carefully fitted to avoid appearing overcrowded. Compared with the more compact widths, these styles of Ringside have rounder sides and more open gestures, making them exceptionally legible when set small, even with their heaviest weights.

Ringside Compressed and Condensed, the family’s two most compact widths, are designed for environments where space is truly at a premium. Ringside Compressed is a good candidate whenever content includes long numbers, such as financial statements, catalogs, technical notes, directories, or annual reports. Its next wider cousin, Ringside Condensed, is a reliable choice for data that includes large numbers of columns, such as weather, sports, or financial statistics.

Wide typefaces don’t customarily have tabular figures, but Ringside Wide and Extra Wide include them for use in tables with lots of short numbers, such as menus, price lists, tables of contents, or wayfinding signage. Typefaces with wide proportions can give prominence to short numbers that are easily overlooked, and help avoid the need to enlarge the text size. And the inclusion of scientific characters, such as superiors, inferiors, and mathematical operators, makes Ringside a reliable choice for presenting dimensions.D.RingsideAll

Ringside was designed not only for versatility, but to avoid the bland plasticity of many digital superfamilies.

Ringside was designed not only for versatility but to avoid the bland plasticity of many digital superfamilies.

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All in all, Ringside is worthy of serious consideration when a stylish, sans serif superfamily is desired for print, web, or mobile devices.

Posted on: March 1, 2017

Ilene Strizver

Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer, writer and educator specializing in all aspects of visual communication, from the aesthetic to the technical. Her book, Type Rules! The designer’s guide to professional typography, 4th edition, has received numerous accolades from the type and design community.

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