Inhouse 78 Still Sans

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Arch MacDonnell
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Alistair McCready
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Arch MacDonnell, Alistair McCready
  • Client
    Te Papa Press

Still Sans was specifically created for the publication Nature—Stilled by the book’s designers. Photographer Jane Ussher spent several weeks in Te Papa’s natural history collection storage areas capturing images of insects, fish, molluscs, and botanical specimens. The typeface draws on typographic ephemera from museum catalogues, resulting in a combination of old and new that suits the book's amalgam of old-world museological atmosphere combined with a formal and spacious text grid.

The typeface is spread over six styles — thin, light, and regular with accompanying true italics. Given the numeral heavy nature of the book, both proportional and tabular, along with 3/4 height numbers, were added to aid textural clarity. Intended for use below 12pt, the defining details of Still Sans are mainly found within the lower case. Peaked terminals and drastic ink traps mean the anatomy of each character is deceptively traditional while collectively offering a smooth texture on the printed page. A stiff, neo-grotesque nature is broken by moments of awkwardness, especially within the numeral sets where conservative treatment is tossed aside for more quirky, disobedient strokes. The design is both assured and humble — rooted in history yet contemporary in output.