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Game, set, match: Utile aces all your type needs

Sibylle Hagmann’s new flared sans draws inspiration from classic twentieth-century typefaces.

For Sibylle Hagmann, type design is as much an intellectual as it is an artistic endeavor. Like all of her previous projects, Utile was born from extensive research and reflection. The design touches upon theories of German type design giant Hermann Zapf and French icon Roger Excoffon to create a contemporary sans serif family in two finishes: Utile for small sizes and Utile Display for display use.

Utile Display overlaid on Utile.
Hagmann increased Utile’s contrast, extended ascenders and descenders, tightened the spacing, and sharpened its finish for Utile Display.

Utile’s sturdy features and balanced proportions channel Excoffon’s revolutionary Antique Olive. Starting from a thorough examination of the static grotesque and neo-grotesque model, Hagmann gradually gravitated towards a humanist design that is more inviting and dynamic. The open apertures and subtle contrast of the text version pull the readers in, aiding immersive reading. Utile’s thoughtful letter construction and distinctive features are further refined for display use in Utile Display. Higher contrast, longer ascenders and descenders, tighter spacing, and a sharper finish make the typeface sparkle and shine in larger sizes. The flared stroke endings—reminiscent of Zapf’s Optima—have a dual purpose. They imbue the letters with grace and ground them on the baseline, guiding the eye of the reader along the lines of text.

Stylistic alternates in Utile Display and Utile.

Both Utile Display and Utile offer stylistic alternates that can easily be activated with Stylistic Sets.

Utile’s seven weights with matching italics, ranging from a delicate Light to a confident Black, lend the typeface a wide spectrum of typographic expression. The feature-rich OpenType fonts are fully equipped with all the trimmings needed to tackle complex typography. Stylistic alternates allow the user to tailor the type to their personal preference. This makes the versatile series of text and display faces a prime candidate for editorial and corporate design. Utile Display’s sophisticated appearance also lends itself to branding and advertising, while Utile’s reliable structure works well in screen-based environments.

Specimen showing Utile and Utile Display side by side

Because it is available two variants—one for body copy and one for display—Utile is a complete, allround family fit for a wide range of uses.

Like all Kontour fonts, Utile is available for desktop, web, app, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days; desktop trials are available upon request. To stay current on all things Kontour, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.