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Columbia Sans



Jean-Baptiste Levée


Mathieu Réguer
Quentin Schmerber



About this font

Columbia is an unorthodox blend of multiple historical models. Initially commissioned by science magazine Sciences & Avenir, Columbia strikes a balance between rigorous topics and an approachable, informal tone. In its early drafts, the drawings could be considered a “sans-serif version of Times New Roman”, but Jean-Baptiste Levée soon extended the exploration to include the 16th- and 17th-century typography exemplified by Guillaume Le Bé and Christophe Plantin. Columbia also excavates the so-called Elzevir style, an example of permeability between French and Dutch flavours. It is a combination that establishes a confident and trustworthy voice. The type’s restrained nature eschews caricature, giving paragraphs a clean texture while retaining the classical touch expected from late Renaissance typefaces. The family’s lively italics brighten the mood.

Columbia offers two optical sizes which do not follow the expected stylistic features of the genre. For the purpose of space-filling large headlines, Columbia Display has a rather generous x-height and dense coverage, while Columbia, with its smaller x-height, sculpts a more distinguishable word silhouette. Despite its initial relationship to Times New Roman, Columbia rejects the idea of a rotating contrast axis between weights. As a result, Columbia’s oblique distribution of weight is maintained throughout the family.


Static (OTF, TTF, WOFF, WOFF2)

About the designers

  • Jean-Baptiste Levée is a type designer with a strong focus on corporate and bespoke typefaces.

    Jean-Baptiste Levée

    CEO, founder

    Jean-Baptiste Levée (1981) has designed over a hundred typefaces for industry, moving pictures, fashion and media. He is the founder of the independent foundry Production Type.

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Useful type with an edge.

Useful type with an edge.

Production Type provide retail as well as dedicated creative services in typeface design for brands.

Based in Paris and Shanghai, Production Type is a digital type design agency. Its activities span from the exclusive online distribution of its retail type for design professionals, to the creation of custom typefaces for the industrial, luxury, and media sectors.
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