Not on view
Graphic Design Firm
Hoefler & Frere-Jones
Digital typeface
Gift of Hoefler & Frere-Jones
Object number
© 2015 Hoefler & Frere-Jones
Architecture and Design

The Wall Street Journal commissioned this typeface for its financial tables with the goal of increasing legibility while condensing the letterforms to save space. Designed to be used at very small sizes—7-point or below—Retina departs from traditional letterforms altogether to instead provide letters that are as dissimilar from one another as possible. Retina, in the words of the designers, fills in what "human eye needs and what the brain expects" when reading very fine print. By playing up the differences between each letter, the designers have taken "its essence, the thing that makes it this letter and not something else" and amplified it. Notches, or ink traps, are cut into the glyphs to compensate for ink spread on poor-quality paper. Many newspapers now use Retina not only for stock listings but also for sports scores, classified ads, movie and TV listings, and other high-density texts.

Gallery label from Standard Deviations, 2011

Image permissions

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All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053;; Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124;;

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Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource

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This work is not on view.
Tobias Frere-Jones has 4 works online.
Jonathan Hoefler has 4 works online.
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