Font Friday

Action Text

The narrow sans-serif typeface Action Text shown on a mobile phone in a headline, body text, a pull quote and the labels of a button and navigation, on light and dark background.

Sans-Serif typeface

by Erik van Blokland on Commercial Type

Over 16 styles (instances)

4 weights from Regular to Extra Bold with matching italics in the two grades Bright and Dark.

Variable Font

2 axes (weight, grade)

License for web/app usage

Single: from $ 50 (web), $ 75 (app)
Family: from $ 300 (web), $ 450 (app)

Best for

  • Headings (display text)
  • Long reading text (body text)
  • User Interfaces (functional text)

Specialty

The two grades, Bright and Dark, that optimize it for light and dark background.

My thoughts on Action Text

I became familiar with Erik van Blokland with FF Beowolf, know as the first dynamically generated typeface back in the 90ies. His name stands for quality and versatility, and a particular character in his designs. Action Text is a rather narrow sans-serif that perfectly adjusts to its surrounding. It saves you space, especially on mobile design, and still is super legible, which makes it suitable for any kind of text, from display sizes to tiny functional text.

Action Text Dark set on a dark background looks too heavy.
Especially the inner space of the letters becomes to dense, when Action Text Dark is set on a dark background.
Action Text Bright set on a dark background still looks clean.
It might be subtle, but it’s very cool – Action Text Bright on a dark background still looks crisp and clean.

To me, its superpower lies in the two different grades the Action Text family is divided into, Bright and Dark, which have been drawn on the same set of widths. This allows for text to be switched between the two grades without any reflowing of text, and it’s always optimized for its surrounding. I already wrote about this concept with the typeface Darkmode. Since dark themes are so popular, it makes Action Text an ideal typeface for these situations. The only confusing thing here is, that you should use the Bright grad on dark background and vice versa.


What do you think? Is Action Text something for an upcoming project? Tell me in the comments below!

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One Comment

  1. This is a serious league font! It’s a little more masculine than feminine. Action Text embraces its quirkiness (see x, r) with stability in cohesive heights all through the row.

    My thought on its superpower… Utility! It’s applicable, in all kinds of digital media. I’d say, a digital-first aesthetic.

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