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Inside The Fonts | Sizing up Zeitung

Underware’s latest release comes in two variants—Zeitung Pro and Zeitung Micro Pro. What’s the difference?

The prefixes and suffixes occasionally appended to font names give us additional information about a typeface’s provenance, capabilities, or intended use. Zeitung is a good case in point. The suffix Pro determines the font format, and more specifically the character set’s breadth. It identifies Zeitung Pro as a feature-rich OpenType font family with extensive Latin Plus language support. Yet one of the two versions comes with an additional suffix: Micro.

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To improve Zeitung Pro’s legibility at even the smallest text sizes, Zeitung Pro Micro acquired a larger x-height, wider proportions, and more generous spacing.

Type for micro text

If you know Greek, the words micro and macro are self-explanatory. In typography, micro text is another term for (very) small body copy; macro text indicates display type. Digital typefaces are scaleable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they look best at any size. Ideally, the shapes of the letters need to be fine-tuned to achieve optimal legibility and readability at the smallest sizes in print and on screen.

Image showing comparison between Zeiting Pro and Zeitung Micro Pro. The counters in the Micro version are more open to allow for better legibility and readability at small sizes.
Besides adapting the shapes and proportions of the letters to optimize Zeitung Pro Micro for small sizes, Underware simplified complex glyphs like the ampersand.

Underware developed Zeitung as a robust sans serif that works well in small sizes on screen. And they meticulously applied a number of design tweaks to Zeitung Pro Micro to improve its legibility even further. An increased x-height, bigger counters, and looser spacing guarantee that the letterforms don’t clog up or fuse together. Underware also simplified the design of glyphs with complex shapes (like the ampersand) for the Micro version.

Image showing that Zeitung Pro Micro’s four lightest weights have identical spacing for better mixing and matching.
Because Zeitung Micro Pro’s four lightest weights have identical metrics, they can be used as text grades to compensate for different paper stocks or reading conditions on screen.

Did we mention grades?

Zeitung offers an additional, unexpected possibility for optimizing text: the four weights on the lighter end of the spectrum—Thin, Extra Light, Light, and Regular—have identical spacing. This deliberate design strategy allows them to behave like text grades. When selecting a lighter or darker style to compensate for different paper quality or variations in light and/or contrast on the screen, lines of text will retain their original length and copy will not reflow.

Need a crisp sans for highly legible, petite text on your website? Switch from Zeitung Pro to Zeitung Pro Micro.

Like all Underware fonts, Zeitung is available for print, web, applications, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days. To stay current on all things Lipton, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.

Bald Condensed, né Yves Peters, is a Belgian-based rock drummer known for his astute observations on the impact of letterforms in the contemporary culture-sphere. A prolific writer on typography, he has a singular knack for identifying the most obscure typefaces known to man.