If you’ve ever paid attention to Martha Stewart Living magazine, you’d think that the font used here is Morris Fuller Benton’s News Gothic – except it’s not. The contemporary sans serif is in fact, a redesign called Benton Sans. Read on to find out why it matters.
Benton Sans Beginnings
Inspired by this, typographer Tobias Frere-Jones began work in 1995 on a redesign that would be named as Benton Sans. He did this by studying the 1908 News Gothic samples from the Smithsonian Institution. The sans serif was later expanded by Cyrus Highsmith and David Berlow, and published under Boston-based type foundry, Font Bureau.
Benton Sans Uses Today
Benton Sans was originally commissioned for Martha Stewart Living magazine and the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia website.
The first designs had 7 weights (Thin to Black) and only 2 widths. The final font family now consists of 128 fonts in 8 weights and 4 widths, with complementing italics and small caps. The typeface was further enhanced by David Berlow in 2010, and once again by Font Bureau in 2013. These are known today as Benton Sans RE and Benton Sans Wide versions. Both variants can be found on Type Network.
No-Nonsense Benton Sans
The grotesque sans-serif was created to be friendly for web use, with a compact character set and shallow descenders. Boasting of organic shapes and subtle stroke transitions in width, it’s gentler and more humanistic than similar typefaces. This makes it a wonderful font for websites, presentations, and social media branding.