The rebranded “De Redactie” – now called VRT NWS — was launched a few days ago.
What stood out to me the first time I visited the site was the choice of type. To me, it seemed the tracking was off. Things seemed to be extremely tight.
Some reading on Twitter and I learned that the used font is called Forma DJR.
On Forma’s website, the makers state:
One of Forma’s most distinguishing features is its letter spacing, or rather its total lack thereof. Following the razor-thin sidebearings of the metal original, Forma is spaced in true late-60s/early-70s fashion, favoring “tight but not touching” letterforms over evenly balanced white shapes.
The tight-but-not-touching technique is extremely sensitive to size: what looks perfect at 100pt is virtually illegible at 10pt. To account for this, each of Forma DJR’s five weights also comes in five optical sizes, ranging from Banner (for 72pt and above) to Micro (for 8pt and below). Within each size range, the spacing of each variant is tuned to walk that fine line between retro and ridiculous.
The 5 optical sizes are Micro, Text, Deck, Display and Banner. On the VRT NWS site, the headings seem to be using “Display”, and the regular body text seems to be using “Text”.
In my opinion, this is not a great type choice for reading on the web.
Maybe I’ll get used to it, but I’ll probably write a user style to aid my reading, maybe just using Apple’s San Francisco font.