Font Friday

Mayenne Sans (free font)

The quirky contrasting sans seir typeface Mayenne Sans  on a mobile phone in a headline and pull quote.

Display typeface

by Studio Triple

1 Style

Bold

License

Free

Best for

Specialty

Expressive look and tight metrics make it ideal for impactful titles or headings.

My thoughts on Mayenne Sans

Mayenne Sans is a special, tight, and rich in contrast treat for your eyes. I love how rhythmic, quirky, and lively it comes across. This free font by Studio Triple was designed for the department of the Mayenne (see it on their website applied in the headings). It’s a straight forward display typeface made for text in larger sizes or very short paragraphs. It is too striking for longer reading text, and too rich in contrast for smaller sizes (below 16 px).

The x-height of Mayenne Sans and Merriweather Sans in comparison. The short ascenders of Mayenne Sans don’t reach above the cap height.
Mayenne Sans’ large x-height gets more obvious when compared to Merriweather Sans, a font for body text. The ascenders and descenders of Mayenne Sans are very short. Look at the h that does not go above the cap height.

A main feature of Mayenne Sans is the tremendous x-height. The x-height is used to define how high lower-case letters are compared to the cap height of upper-case letters (more about this in this video). The large x-height and the very short ascenders and descenders make it ideal for compact headings and brief paragraphs. Set it with very tight leading (little line height) and create a nice, texture-like appearance. In that sense Mayenne Sans could almost be a contemporary Blackletter.

In the left column some text is set in Mayenne Sans. It creates a very tight and rhythmic typographic color that almost seems like a texture. This works due to its short ascenders and descenders. In the right column you see Merriweather Sans optically at the same size doesn’t work well. The word spaces seem very loose and the line height too dense. Ascenders and descenders overlap – disgusting!
What looks cool in Mayenne Sans looks odd in Merriweather Sans. Both typefaces are set at the optical same size. This means I increased Merriweather’s font size, so the lower case letters of both fonts have the same height and appear equal in size.

What I want you to take away from this font selection is that it not only depends on the typeface, it is almost more important how you use it. The most brilliant font looses all its power when applied wrong. Like in the example above, Merriweather is not a bad typeface it’s just used horribly. Mayenne Sans looks good but if you’d set a text heavy page in it, you would go blind. It’s up to you as a typographer to decide where to draw the line.

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