Typefaces – Metro (NY)

Nameplate: Agenda Cond Medium

Teaser: FF Unit Slab Pro Light

Cover Line: FF Unit Slab Pro Medium

Headlines: FF Unit Slab Pro Black

Deks/Pull Quotes/Captions: ? Sans Serif

Body Copy: ? Serif

First off, let me express how frustrating it is to look up any information on Metro NY. There are a bunch of Metro newspapers for different cities, but when you look for the New York version, all Google wants to tell you about is the subway system. Sigh…

Metro has a few typefaces in its toolbox, but it feels like much more because of the different ways it uses them.

Metro brands itself with what I believe is Agenda Condensed Medium, a sans serif with no stroke weight. The nose of the “e” is cut off and the angle of the finials in the “e” and “t” lean forward slightly. The feel is modern and clean, a good fit for the young audience Metro wants to reach.

For its teasers, cover lines, and headlines, Metro uses a slab serif call FF Unit Slab Pro. Yet the typeface looks completely different in each of these elements due to the variation in weight applied. The teasers are done in light. They appear tall and delicate, large but unobtrusive. The cover lines are done in medium. This helps with the hierarchy of the cover, as the eye is drawn to the more pronounced cover line before the less highlighted teaser. Finally, the headlines are done in black. They are incredibly bold making them easy to spot, but I wonder if they don’t take up much more space than they need to. Sometimes the body copy doesn’t look like it belongs to the headline because the difference in size and boldness is so great.

My favorite typeface in the paper is a sans serif Metro uses for its extra information (pull quotes, asides, and the like) and for its captions. The typeface is tall and slender and stands out just enough to draw your attention without becoming distracting. It lets me read pull quotes quickly and easily and then hop right back into the body copy without missing a beat. For captions the typeface is boldened and done as reverses (white or yellow on a black box).

The body copy is a standard looking serif typeface. I can’t quite tell what it is, but it’s not exactly the same as any of the serif typefaces I use. It is neither distracting, nor incredibly interesting. It’s a safe, readable typeface, which I guess is the point for body copy.

Metro also splashes color on its type here and there. They uses a light green (lighter than the green used in their nameplate to highlight a two in the deks of select stories. It makes the page interesting, and gives your brain a place to latch on, but I’m not sure it’s always used strategically. It seems to me Metro has decided to use the color once or twice a page rather than to really think about what content they’re highlighting.

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Cameron Young