The Columbia family was comissionned by the French magazine Sciences & Avenir.
During the overhaul of the magazine design, the need for a typeface with a confident and trustworthy voice was established. The seriousness of scientific subjects are balanced with an approachable and informal tone, which was equally requested from the Columbia family.
Initially thought as what could be called a "sans-serif version of Times New Roman", Columbia indeed extends the formal research to reach the XVIth-XVIIth century typography that Guillaume Le Bé and Christoffer Plantin brought. Excavated from this Elzevirian base, a few distinctive shapes bear signs of this permeability between French and Dutch traditions, such as the overly thin parenthesis, the light accents, a typical question mark etc.
The family is designed in two optical sizes, yet they do not follow the expected stylistic features of the genre: for the purpose of space-filling, Columbia Grand Text has a rather generous x-height and covers the surface of the page more firmly, while Columbia Petit Text has a smaller x-height to deliver a contrasted word silhouette. The idea of a rotating contrast axis, that is typical of Times New Roman, is rejected in Columbia. As a result, the bolder weights retain an oblique distribution of weight. Columbia Banner completes the family with a big x-height, a light weight and slightly condensed proportions.
AD: Thierry Verret.
Production Mathieu Réguer.