Cronos

This lovely typeface deserves a wider showing!

August 25, 2019Filed under Blog#design#typographyMarkdown source

Assumed Audience: design types and typography nerds.

I’m not sure when I first stumbled on Cronos, but it was a long time ago at this point. I launched a version of this website using Cronos for titles back in 2012. I’ve experimented with a number of typefaces for the body text since then—including Minion, Gentium, and finally Sabon—but Cronos has never changed. Every time I’ve thought about moving away from it, I’ve been dissatisfied with everything else I’ve looked at using in its place. It makes for a solid choice for body text, but is a remarkable titling face.

And yet no one seems to know about it. I have never seen it on another website, or in print. (The three body typefaces I’ve used I have seen plenty of other places—online, in apps, and in print.) On the one hand, that’s kind of delightful: it gives my site a fairly distinctive identity. On the other hand, it’s a shame, because it’s such a lovely sans! It deserves a wider audience! I’ll gladly give up some of my site’s uniqueness to see this beautiful thing get more use.

It has just enough character to stand out from the wash of geometric and humanist sans that are in vogue these days, but it doesn’t call attention to itself or cross over into being weird. (“Weird” isn’t bad, to be clear: it’s often very good! But Cronos isn’t weird.) It’s interesting, but only if you stop to look at it closely. It almost wants to be a serif: there are little curls and hooks—as on the r or m or n ascenders, or at the caps of the A and N and M. The t has a little jag between its ascender and its crossbar. The descender of the y is curved, just a little. End caps all swoop away, refusing to be totally straight. And yet when you take it all in on the page, none of those details are so bold that they actively draw your eye. They make it interesting, but never distract. It’s quirky and balanced and pairs perfectly with just about any serif you can throw at it (and many a sans, too). Go wild and pair with a monospace if you want! It somehow just works.

Go use it, people!