Font Friday

Sporting Grotesque (free font)

Sporting Grotesque is vintage & different. The sans serif typeface Sporting Grotesque set on a mobile phone. A bold pull quote Nadine Chahine from my talk with her: “Sometimes the point of a typeface is to disturb, to do something unexpected. Tobe different.”

Sans-serif typeface

by Lucas Le Bihan, at VTF

2 styles

Regular and Bold

Licenses for print/web/app:

Free and Open Source

Best for

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

Specialty

A unique typeface for a little text set at mid-sizes when you want to create an artistic or vintage atmosphere.

My thoughts on Sporting Grotesque

Sporting Grotesque, designed by Lucas Le Bihan, is another gem discovered at Velvetyne, the libre & open-source foundry. It is inspired by the early sans-serif typefaces, which were not so polished and perfected yet. It feels very grounded, wide, with a calligraphic, organic touch.

Sporting Grotesque is very quirky, vintage, wild and wide with an organic, calligraphic influence. LOOKING SHARP IN CAPS LIKE ANOTHER TYPEFACE Sporting Grotesque works best in mid-sized text in wider columns, creating spacious, low lines with a lively rhythm, and a human touch to it. But avoid setting it below 13px, since its letter shapes are too closed for tiny text.
In mixed case Sporting Grotesque seems more soft and organic. Set in all caps, it feels almost sharp.

The typeface comes with plenty of idiosyncrasies. I adore the numerals, the flared terminals at the rounded shapes, and the distinct wedge shaped cuts. They make Sporting Grotesque very contrasting, while the wide proportions, large x-height, and short ascenders and descenders, make it appear very stable.

Gorgeous wide, compact numerals, wedge shaped cuts and closed apertures contribute to the appearance of Sporting Grotesque
Main characteristics of Sporting Grotesque

The spacing of Sporting Grotesque is peculiar as well. The letters are arranged relatively tight together, while the word space is pretty wide. It works best in smaller sizes (around 14 to 22px), but the larger it becomes, the more the lines start to fall apart. So you should adjust the word spacing here, as you can see blow.

A very striking feature are the crazy capital alternates that come for B, S, O, Q. Not sure what to do with it, but in some cases you need to surprise and distract, especially with the broken S. What use cases would you come up with? I made a short video how to use stylistic alternates with CSS.

Obviously Surprising – Crazy, looped capital alternates for the B, S, O and Q
These are some super weird alternates 😅

Overall, a unique typeface for a little body text set at mid-sizes when you want to create an artistic or vintage atmosphere. If you want to learn more about this typeface, I highly recommend Bethany Heck’s review of it, that goes into great detail.


What do you think? Is this typeface something for an upcoming project, or do you have a font recommendation? Tell me in the comments below!

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