Allrounder superfamily 2.0: What’s it all about?
People have identities. So do typefaces. Fonts matter because identity matters.

Allrounder superfamily 2.0: What’s it all about?

Almost a year in the making, an extensive update to our hallmark Allrounder superfamily has been released. Quietly. There’s no “Neue”, no “Next”, no “Nova”. Just that new internal version number starting with a “2”. If you purchase Allrounder fonts from the usual webpages now, that new version is what you’ll get.

Make no mistake, though: under the hood, the changes are substantial. But why did we see the need to update our bestsellers at all?

In this blog post, I’m going to highlight the reasoning behind the work as well as the changes themselves.

Caution: if you already own and use any of the Allrounder fonts, the new versions won’t be compatible with your existing layouts due to fundamental changes in the metrics. Skip to the last paragraph for more information.

Feedback drives innovation

It all started with customer feedback: users of Allrounder Antiqua and Allrounder Grotesk approached me with the request of making the darkest weights of the sans-serif family even heftier. Conceptually, that made a lot of sense to me, especially in editorial design projects. But a change in the weight distribution of the sans meant that the serif family would need to be adjusted accordingly. So would the titling typeface, Allrounder Monument.

Seeing things with a fresh set of eyes

A superfamily that claims perfect visual balance between all of its members is a delicate system. If you alter a glyph in one family, it will haven an impact on the same glyph in all other families. Effectively, this meant that every single character was put to test. Once in the process of reopening the font files, I didn’t want to miss the chance to apply the experience and insights I collected over the five years since the inauguration of Allrounder. Frank Blokland, my teacher at the Expert class Type design, once said “You can only see what you know”. And indeed, those five years of extra knowledge proved potent in my evaluating the curves I had drawn in the past. Thus, all glyphs underwent a subtle facelift. Overhauling masters and interpolation, all styles of all families were rendered a bit darker in order to pack that desired extra punch on the page. Last but not least, the spacing and kerning concept was rethought and rebuilt all around.

These fundamental changes may be filed under service and maintenance. However, lots of truly new features were added, too. These were intended to make the Allrounder superfamily even more versatile.

Redrawn italics

One of these was the new italic for Allrounder Antiqua. The original design was built upon a skeleton that was very much rooted in the cursive style of Renaissance times: quirky, irregular, bubbly, dynamic. In a nutshell, it was beautiful—too beautiful for a font called “Allrounder”. The new italic was redrawn from scratch and bears its name with pride. Its systematic construction and matter-of-fact demeanor make it as versatile as its upright counterpart.

More widths

Another obvious addition were two new narrow widths of Allrounder Grotesk: Cnd (Condensed) and Cmp (Compressed). Perfect for headlines, posters, and limited horizontal spaces, these were a much sought-after extension of the Allrounder concept.

Monospace addition

Allrounder Grotesk now comes in a nonproportional variant, too: Allrounder Grotesk Mono, an Allrounder subfamily in its own right. It’s our first monospace typeface and I’m glad to report that spacing and kerning was refreshingly straightforward with that one. On the other hand, a ton of optical corrections were needed for many of the glyphs stretched into the rigid fixed-width grid.

More epochs, more families

With Allrounder Didone and Allrounder Baroque, serif text faces from two more eras are going to be added to the Allrounder type system this year. The Baroque and Classicism influences in these designs were requested in particular by users from the fashion, culture, book design, and CI/branding industries. They’ll be especially happy to add these new Allrounder families.

Allrounder—what’s in a name?

As mentioned before, the new versions of our fonts will bear the same names as the old ones despite the thorough overhaul. This is mainly due to technical reasons. To warrant maximum compatibility with all systems, we made sure to comply with the OpenType specs, which require filenames to have less than 30 characters. Think “AllrounderGroteskCondensed-ExtraLightItalic.otf”: even without any kind of suffix like “Nova” or “Neue” or even “2.0”, it’s already too long. Abbreviating a few components (like Condensed → Cnd, ExtraLight → XLight, Italic → It), we compressed this filename down to 29 characters: AllrounderGroteskCnd-XLightIt.otf. We sure as hell didn’t want to jeopardize that with a suffix.

Update overview per font family

Let’s have another brief look at what changed for each of the existing Allrounder families.

Allrounder Grotesk

  • Glyph shapes were smoothed and proportions were harmonized while maintaining the overall look and feel
  • Darker master at the bold end of the spectrum: Black is now really Black
  • New weight distribution across all styles
  • Fully reworked spacing & kerning

Allrounder Antiqua

  • Completely redrawn italics with a 14° angle (instead of 20°), less expressive dynamics, and calmer, smoother shapes closer related to the uprights (in a distant future, the old italics might be added again as a stylistic set)
  • Glyph shapes were smoothed and proportions were harmonized while maintaining the overall look and feel in the Roman
  • Darker master at the bold end of the spectrum: Bold is now bolder than ever
  • Fully reworked spacing & kerning

Allrounder Monument

  • Glyph shapes were smoothed and proportions were harmonized while maintaining the overall look and feel
  • New weight distribution across all styles
  • Fully reworked spacing & kerning

Caution: Allrounder updates and legacy projects

The updated Allrounder fonts come with different horizontal metrics than the original versions. This means your copy will reflow if you are currently using the original versions and replace them with the update. A parallel installation of the old and new versions is not possible—there can be only one. Please make sure that you won’t run into any kind of trouble when installing the new Allrounder fonts.

Our advice: if in doubt or under pressure, finish whatever projects you are currently working on first and export your files to static formats like PDF. After the deadline, exploring the new qualities of the update will be much more relaxed.

If you want to or need to continue to work with the old versions and require additional licenses or font downloads, we’ll be happy to provide you with everything you need in terms of legacy versions. Just drop us a line at