Introducing Malden Sans, a cheeky sans serif with some Hollywood history

Partly inspired by the world of film, Michele Patanè's Malden Sans is a mischievous sans serif that's designed with the printed page in mind. As well as drawing on a bygone era of typography, this typeface takes on the devil-may-care attitude of the silver screen — embracing its imperfections, rather than polishing them out.

Designer Michele Patanè started working on the typeface while studying an MA at the University of Reading in the UK. Having decided to create a magazine typeface, he turned to his own interest in cinema and collecting film mags – which gave him some background reference for the shapes he was designing. Patanè says he's especially drawn to the 30s and 40s, and the way type was used in the printed media of the time.

“There is a very naive way of using typography, something not as clean as how it's used in the late 50s and 60s when everything passed through a rationalization of the typographic palette,” he explains. “In film magazines you can still see a bit of roughness, and I like that.”

It's exactly this feeling of naïveté and quirkiness that the designer's kept in mind while creating Malden Sans. Looking closely at letters reveals some of their charming idiosyncrasies, such as asymmetric endings or the tail of the single-story italic 'a'. Patanè says he wanted to avoid “hyper-refined” shapes, deciding to embrace imperfections rather than completely ironing out the crinkles in the typeface. As a result Malden Sans is resistant to rough handling – for example adapting well to being printed on lower quality paper.

However although it's got some mischievous details, Patanè says he wanted Malden Sans to be utilitarian. “In a way I don't think it's a fancy typeface,” he says. “It should just do the job.” That means it also works in digital environments, particularly in places where brands and designers need a typographic voice that contrasts the usual polished geometric sans serif. The typeface includes a normal and condensed range, which also gives designers some extra flexibility.

“I came up with the idea that it should be calm, and not move too much,” adds the designer. “It's very stable, the contrast is relatively low, but there is still a cheekiness in a way that makes it feel alive.”

Get Malden Sans today

Malden Sans includes a Normal and Condensed range, with 7 weights in the Normal and 6 in the Condensed, both including italics. You can find Malden Sans in Mosaic, along with thousands of other premium fonts.