Qlikview Sans

January 2017

TypeTogether was entrusted to develop a custom font for the software company Qlik Technologies Inc., specialising in data discovery and delivering intuitive solutions for self-service data visualisation and guided analytics. One of their products is QlikView, a so-called Business Discovery platform that helps companies to visualise, evaluate, and manage their data and transform it into meaningful information using a straightforward and easily understandable interface. Qlik was undergoing a rebranding to reflect and unify the company’s values, which also affected Qlikview. The client’s main rationale for commissioning a tailored font were the limitations they experienced since they were restricted to system fonts available to the end user’s machine. These fonts were generic and lack brand value; do not fit the purpose of data visualisation; lack consistency; are dated and do not express a forward-looking piece of software. TypeTogether was able to solve those problems with a commissioned type family that fit their needs and fit the company’s personality.

data visualisation in complex digital environments

The primary goal put forward by Qlik was to make the new typeface perform well in digital environments, both desktop and browser-based, with data analysis and visualisation as the main consideration. The typeface is to be used only onscreen in tables, separated words, navigation menus, and very short paragraphs, as the sole typeface in Qlik’s applications. Additional requirements by the client included: usage at small pixel sizes, a pan-european character set, compliance with Windows-desktop type rendering technology, and delivery as webfonts via web server.

During the conceptual stage, TypeTogether defined a set of desirable attributes that influenced the design of the resulting QlikView Sans. Given the technical restrictions, letter shapes were engineered to minimise the problems inherent to low resolution rendering. Complex shapes are simplified wherever possible and curve tension is adjusted in such a way to avoid problems with grid-fitting. To ensure a high degree of legibility, QlikView Sans is fitted with generous counters, a tall x-height, and pays special attention to problematic characters that may be misread at small sizes. Additionally, narrow proportions of the letters help to provide enough space to visualise large amounts of data, taking care not to compromise legibility.

Acting as a counter-balance to the mass of impersonal data, the typeface brings a friendly, natural touch to the software. The final look and feel of QlikView Sans is a bit of a hybrid; a generally grotesque letter structure is mixed with carefully chosen humanist elements — see in particular the numerals and outstrokes on k, K, R.

TypeTogether collaborated with Tom Grace for the Cyrillic part and Irene Vlachou for the design of Monotonic Greek.

See more images in Flickr.

About Us

TypeTogether is an indie type foundry committed to excellence in type design with a focus on editorial use. Additionally, TypeTogether creates custom type design for corporate use. We invite you to browse our library of retail fonts or contact us to discuss custom type design projects.