The design of Adapter started with a goal shared by many other designers: to create a simple, no-frills sans serif that would appeal to contemporary modernist and post-modernist aesthetics. A straightforward, universal typeface that is easy to use for a wide range of design genres.
We found that modernist sans serifs (or neo-grotesques such as Helvetica or Arial) tend to be used according to two different logics. They are an unobtrusive, basic, or even default choice when used for continuous texts. Yet they can also be selected intentionally to make a strong stylistic statement suggesting minimalism or unaesthetics when used in posters, magazines, or book covers. These are two very different objectives, and we argue they are best addressed with different shapes. That’s why we designed two different typefaces with two different design personalities.
Adapter Text looks as if it were designed by a typographer who cares mostly about ergonomics, ease of reading, and an even rhythm. Emphasized design features, generous spacing, overall openness, and slightly squarish counters that lend themselves well to low resolutions were all made to honour the reading experience.
Adapter Display, on the other hand, was designed by an architect – a lover of symmetry, alignment, impact, and black colour. Its round shapes are rounder and its spiky parts, spikier. It remains casually uninvolved, but it has personality. It is tightly spaced for a striking impact in headlines. The display sizes also permit a wider range of usable weights.
Parts of the same system, Adapter Display and Adapter Text were two separate sets of fonts. But we wanted to keep the system compact. So, we packed the whole range of weights, text and display size-specific variants, and even the italics into a single, lightweight variable font. Adapter currently supports Arabic, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. A simple, flexible solution.
Borna Izadpanah is a typeface designer and researcher. He holds an MA in Graphic Design from the London College of Communication and an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading where he is undertaking PhD research. Borna is the designer of multi-award winning typefaces Lida and Lalezar. He has co-designed the Google Font Markazi Text with Fiona Ross and Florian Runge.