The Slate Pro – charmingly neutral

The sans serif Slate Pro is the new hallmark typeface of Munich Creative Business Week.

Why choose this one? Developed by Rod McDonald, its concept immediately won over designers and organisers alike. And Simone Schwarz, communication designer for MCBW, was convinced by its strengths as soon as she began designing the first pages.

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“I wanted to create a typeface that would function on both paper and LCD,” said Rod after the development of Slate, a commissioned work for supplier Monotype. For more than 40 years, this Canadian has been creating typefaces including Cartier Book, Gibson, ITC Handel Gothic, Smart Sans and the Laurentian family. To ensure optimum legibility of Slate for devices such as laptops, flat screens and mobile devices, Rod apprenticed himself to Microsoft Typography’s team to learn about the concept of ClearType, a technology developed by Microsoft specifically for on-screen texts.

Creating a purely technical solution, however, was out of the question. Rod was looking to combine a classical sans serif with an exceptional degree of legibility. He said, “I did not want an ‘engineered look’, nor did I want to integrate obvious design gimmicks. And I have to admit that I was absolutely ruthless in treating each letter attempting to stand out from the crowd.”

Slate_2The result is a pragmatic beauty that unites functionality and elegance and represents an outstanding tool of communication. From her daily work with this typeface, Simone Schwarz can give a first-hand account of its properties. “It appears less formal than CA Normal, the typeface previously used for all modes of MCBW communication,” explains the communication designer and adds, “we were looking for a typeface that resembled CA Normal to a very high degree in order to ensure recognisability and to avoid confusion.”

Simone is particularly happy about the open, rounder inner shapes of Slate, commonly known as counters. She reveals, “As a result, the typeface appears very friendly, open and is very legible. Overall, it turned out to be on the small and narrow side, which is why we increased the point size slightly.”

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Monotype is the exclusive supplier of typefaces of Munich Creative Business Week.

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