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Stratum 1 and 2 font specimen
Stratum 1 and 2 font specimen
Stratum 1 and 2 font specimen
Stratum 1 and 2 font specimen
Stratum 1 and 2 font specimen
Stratum 1 and 2 font specimen

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Stratum: More with less

Stratum is a design solution to what most cripples geometric sans serifs: the lowercase. So commonplace are the blocked and clogged companions to the capitals that one could be forgiven if they were taken for a feature and not a bug of the genre at this point. From a type designers standpoint, their continued presence is perplexing but understandable: forego the geometry and you’re left with a lowercase unlike the capitals. But what to do? Forget the geometric shapes and just make it work? Or maybe Morris Fuller Benton was onto something when he didn’t include a lowercase with Bank Gothic...

Stratum bdpq joins

These are the ideas and frustrations that led to the development of Stratum. As with most projects initiated to solve long-standing problems, the road to a final solution was not direct. And so it was somewhere between scrapping the project altogether and omitting the baseline stem terminations of the b,d,p,q characters that it became clear the geometry itself should be ignored – at least for some of the characters. The solution is simple but effective: merge the oval corners of the lowercase to the stems without breaking the curve while using the geometry as a guide and not a solution. The result is a hybrid of sorts that honors the clean curves of the ovals while delivering a legible lowercase in all six weights.

Stratum all caps REC

But what about the caps? You’ll notice in our specimens that they’re featured prominently and for good reason: geometric capitals are ideal for headlines. If you suspect a bias for capitals on our part you’re right. We love that capitals remain crisp in all weights so it should come as no surprise that much of our efforts with the lowercase came from a desire to have a set of powerful geometric capitals in our library.

Stratum 1 vs. Stratum 2

Astute viewers will notice we’ve made a distinction within the family by offering Stratum 1 and Stratum 2. The differences between the two are simple: Stratum 1 features sharp terminations on the lowercase ascenders, descenders and on key terminations between the uppercase and lowercase. Stratum 2 on the other hand does not. All terminations are flat throughout for a uniform feel. When purchased as a group, the second is included at an 80% discount.

Designer: Eric Olson
Released: 2004
Weights & Styles
6 weights Stratum 1
6 weights Stratum 2
Language Coverage
Extended Latin
Format Options
PDF: Stratum 1 & 2
Webfonts: Stratum 1 & 2
Desktop License Agreement
Webfont License Agreement
Trial Fonts
Test and rent Stratum 1 & 2 with Fontstand, a Mac app.
What's the difference?

Stratum 1 and Stratum 2 differ only in stroke terminations. Stratum 1 has sharp terminations while Stratum 2 has flat terminations.