About the Fonts
It started with Cinecav UI, the first font in the Cinecav family. Subtle, stylish, highly legible and highly efficient, its letterforms were designed specifically for new televisions with LCD, plasma or good quality CRT’s. Cinecav UI isn’t part of the required FCC closed-caption set, but we included it for use in UI menus and program guides when space is tight. Read the DESIGNER’S NOTES below to learn more.
During early tests, we needed a narrow proportionally spaced sans serif. Originally, I had intended to create a more technical looking font like Typodermic’s Affluent™ but the requirements were different. Affluent was designed for low resolution display on CRTs of varying quality. Designing Cinecav for new televisions gave me a chance to use some of the technical innovations in Affluent but toned down; with letter forms that are less stark and unfamiliar to the viewer’s eyes.
I used Typodermic’s Doradani™ as a base font and rounded off the corners very slightly. The subtle curves aren’t apparent at smaller sizes but at larger sizes on high resolution displays the rounded edges take some of the harshness away, making Cinecav very easy on the eyes. It’s the difference between “soft” and “fuzzy”. A teddy bear is fuzzy but the soft, rounded curves on an iPod are not. Subtly rounding the sharp corners gives Cinecav a strong, contemporary, high tech style. If you compare Cinecav UI to Doradani, you can see how the round letter forms have been “squared off”, especially the horizontals. Avoiding near-horizontals can help prevent interlace problems.
Doradani has humanistic bowl shapes but Cinecav has squarish bowl to help maximize the counters (holes in letters). This gives Cinecav greater readability at lower resolutions and a D.I.N.-style technical look which is popular in cutting edge products like the XBOX 360.
One of the first things people notice about Cinecav is the gaps or “light traps” in the M, W etc. Traditional fonts have sharp cuts on the M and W, perhaps with “ink-traps” to help compensate for problems that occur in print. Put those same, traditional fonts on TV in white on a black background and you can see the problem with your own eyes. The connecting points on the M and W become heavy . . . fuzzy. The Cinecav M and W stay crisp, even if the viewer has the brightness and contrast settings cranked up. You can see a similar concept on the A, K and V: the light trap problem was avoided altogether by adding lines. In the case of the A, it has the added bonus of allowing a more open counter which is critical at lower resolutions. We did build a font called Cinecav B with more traditional forms.
So, after a lot of testing, Cinecav UI was born and became the basis for the rest of the Cinecav family. Cinecav UI isn’t part of the required FCC closed-caption set but we included it as a spare font. It can be used as a more compact alternative to Cinecav Sans, for on-screen menus, guide data, or as the eighth, alternative user-selected font that the FCC requires.
Doradani™ and Affluent™ are trademarks of Typodermic Fonts Inc.