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Time and again, designers have pursued the “holy grail” of attempting to create a highly distinctive, yet simple, sans serif typeface. Ocean Sans attains this goal in large part through its relatively high contrast between thick and thin strokes, itself an uncommon feature for a sans serif.


According to designer Chong Wah, the obvious contrast between stroke weights was the key to achieving a fresher, more modern design. ”The strokes have been optically calculated to be approximately two-thirds the stem weight,” says Wah. “This creates a strong contrast while still allowing for setting at small sizes.” Fairly condensed proportions make Ocean Sans an economical user of space in display headlines and narrow columns of text copy.

Also unusual for a sans serif design is the design’s cursive italic. “I wanted a true italic to accompany the roman,” says Wah, “because I believe that cursive designs are superior for adding emphasis within text. I also believe that a true italic style lends grace and elegance to a page."

Chong Wah, a self-trained type designer, studied graphic design in England before returning home to Malaysia. He worked as an advertising designer for several years before deciding, in 1984, to devote more time to type design. He also honed his skills working for Monotype before opening a freelance of?ce in the early 1990s.

Now the Ocean Sans family is available as a suite of OpenType Pro fonts. Graphic communicators can work with this versatile design while taking advantage of OpenType’s capabilities, including the automatic insertion of old style ?gures, ligatures and small caps. An extended character set supports most Central European and many Eastern European languages.
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