Helsingin Sanomat is Finland’s major daily newspaper, with a circulation of around 400,000 on weekdays. A broadsheet since its founding in 1905, the paper made the switch to tabloid format on 8 January 2013. We provided all of the type for the new design: Sanomat, a serif family for headlines in 8 weights, designed by Paul Barnes with Berton Hasebe; Helsingin [later released as Sanomat Sans], a sans family for display use in 9 weights, designed by Christian Schwartz and Vincent Chan; Helsingin Text in 6 weights, for captions, sidebars, info graphics, maps, and listings; and text is in a custom grade of Publico Text which has been fine-tuned for the Helsingin Sanomat’s presses. The redesign was conceptualized and executed internally, headed up by group creative director Sami Valtere along with art directors Hannu Pulkkinen and Ari Kinnari.
The tabloid layouts are built on a strong grid of square elements. Sanomat is designed to play against this, with organic forms that warm up the coldness and precision of the underlying page structure. Sanomat is an unusual hybrid: a serif face with flared sans terminals, influenced by ‘serifless romans’ like Optima and Albertus.
Helsingin [Sanomat Sans] is a fairly straighforward geometric sans serif, tempering the quirkiness of Sanomat. The pointy terminals reference the iconic geometric architectural lettering in Helsinki’s main square, close to the Helsingin Sanomat's offices. To counter the potentially monotonous texture caused by the many repeating letters in Finnish words, we made the bowls a little bit asymmetrical, more like a humanist sans than a typical geometric.