Planet typography MyFonts
The typographic Times
[September 2008]
by Luc(as) de Groot
Corporate Indentity

“ After Thesis, the ‘superfamily’ published in 1994, Corpid was my next large type family. The name Corpid derives from Corporate Identity – which is what this family of –low contrast sans-serifs was made for.

Corpid (originally known as Agrofont) developed out of a commission from Studio Dumbar in The Netherlands for the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fishing.

Pages from the corporate identity manual
for the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fishing - the first use of what later became Corpid

Due to expansion, and the need to  update its communications structure, the ministry was faced with the expensive prospect of purchasing licensing for its existing corporate typeface, a well-known 1970s sans-serif, for all of its computers. Studio Dumbar suggested that it would be more interesting, and possibly cheaper, to produce a new font to replace it. This would give the Ministry a unique and strong identity.


Part of the briefing was to make the regular weight similar to the old type-face in text colour and size, so that the vast amount of existing documents could be transferred to the new font without creating confusion. I liked the assigment, partly because it implied a challenge to create something new and different while respecting that constraint – to make a difference without causing any trouble.
Pages from the corporate identity manual
for the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fishing


Comparison between Corpid and an industrial sans serif: the contrast has been constructed in a dinstinctly different way.

The design process was mostly about creating tension all over the font. Tension is how the inner curve of each character relates to the outer curve. I tend to put some diagonal stress into the fonts – a subtle contrast between the thin and thick strokes. This brings a bit of a humanistic, calligraphic touch to the letters, even in a neutral sans serif font like this. In Corpid, this is much less obvious than in Thesis: it’s almost invisible here. As a result, its look is dintinctly different from TheSans – cooler and more business-like.

Scheme of Corpid's proportions

Corpid was gradually expanded into a large family of five weights and three widths: Normal, Condensed and Semi-condensed. The Semi-condensed version is very legible even at small point sizes. Some people may find it useful as a space-saving text face, although I’m not in favour of it: you can also use the Normal version, which is best for long texts anyway, and use a slightly smaller point size.

Corpid is now very internatio- nal and very versatile: we designed a broad range of numeral styles and internatio- nal character sets, including Greek and Cyrillic, and even a phonetic set for use in dictionaries and textbooks.

From January 2008, the new Corpid will be available through our distri- butors, and of course from our own web shop,”

LucasFonts produced a special version of Corpid
for the Amnesty International magazine.

Related article: Luc(as) de Groot interview (September 2008)