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I'm working on a new brand identity for my software company, and after some research we've reached a consensus that Fontsmith's Hackney (http://www.fontsmith.com/fonts/fs-hackney.cfm) could work well for us.

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It has a technical look which I hope will give technical papers credibility and authority, but it's also nice and round so doesn't come across as geeky and esoteric as other technical-looking faces (Eurostile et al).

My question is a pragmatic one. Should I use Hackney for body text or choose something less stylised? I've played around setting some documents (Hackney is available to test free on Fondeck), and at smaller sizes Hackney feels cluttered in the body and needs a lot of tweaking in the tracking etc. Is that just par for the course with a very stylised font, and I should suck it up and work a little harder? Or would a more sensible body sans be worth looking at? If so, what should I look for?

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3 Answers 3

Hackney is definitely more comfortable as a heading face than for text passages. While you could apply tracking to open it up a bit, it's actually not that readable even at 18 px. It's a typographic truism that highly stylized faces are not good for body copy, and this one doesn't break the mold.

It's hard to come up with a good match in five minutes, especially in the risky endeavor of pairing a sans with a sans, but you might give Source Sans, Open Sans or Myriad a look. Source Sans is particularly readable on the web, and its architecture is different enough from Hackney that you're not likely to twitch too much when you see them together on screen. Probably best to use a bold weight with Hackney and a light weight for the body text, to provide enough contrast.

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Nice font, btw. Almost any sans need to be tweaked to looks great at different sizes.. E.g. large size can have decreased kerning, as well as small size need to have a bit increased leading.. or light letters over dark background need to be a bit larger to looks equal to opposite.

So, nothing wrong that you need to tweak it a bit. If you use Word, just do styles and use them for formatting your docs. Cheers.

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Your instinct to use something less stylized and quirky to work with for body copy sounds on the mark to me. My experience has led me to regard body copy as something that delivers a message without drawing attention to itself. For body copy, the saying, 'dress like the rest of the tribe' makes it easy for folks to focus on, comprehend and feel comfortable with your information. Here are couple of combinations I've used recently. Minion PRO with Calibri; Times CE with Myriad Pro. For headlines, perhaps you may want to take a look at the DINs: medium, bold, 1451 Std Mittelschrift, 30640 Std Neuzeit Grotesk Light, and others. I have a pdf of these samples available but I'm new to this site and don't know how to attach or insert it. Enjoy your project!

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