Process: Post Grotesk

About Post Grotesk

Josh Finklea began work on Post Grotesk in 2011 with the goal of designing a contemporary version of the traditional grotesk sans-serif for his own use. The intention was to build an amiable typeface with maximum usability and an overall sense of neutrality.

Post Grotesk Construction

Finklea is a graphic designer whose work emphasizes restraint, rationality, and functionality. Post Grotesk is a careful and conservative study of the typographic genre he found himself using most frequently in his own work, incorporating his own sensibilities and refined aesthetic, as well as addressing common issues found when working with the standard faces of the grotesk and neo-grotesk genres.

Original Concept Sketch

Post Grotesk is informed largely by the rational tone of the more systematic grotesks, while leaning into the looseness of the less structural examples of the genre. Berthold's Akzidenz-Grotesk and Bauer's Venus were both inspirations for the amount of wonky "grotesqueness" that seemed both usable and unique. The flared terminals seen in Venus became an integral characteristic of the design of Post.

Venus Grotesk / Post Grotesk

“Even though I tend to lean towards restraint and minimalism, I kept running into instances where classic sans serifs like Akzidenz, Univers, Helvetica, Monotype Grotesque, and Franklin Gothic all felt too clinical and clean shaven for my work.” Says Finklea. “I tried my best to dissect and identify some of the characteristics that made a grotesk lean more towards cleanliness and rationality on one end, and irregularity and peculiarity on the other.”

In every aspect of the design, the choice of either observing traditional models or making a finely-calculated divergence was agonized over.
An important characteristic of this dichotomy is the recurrence of terminal angles—the most clinical and rigid being the horizontal terminals such as those in Helvetica, with the more unique and lively end of the spectrum being the sheared variety with less consistent terminal angles.

Post Grotesk
Akzidenz Grotesk Buch Regular
Helvetica Regular
Univers Regular

As a graphic designer, Finklea found that he rarely used the lighter weights in most grotesks, as the interior space of the characters often felt too open and the width often felt too wide. While it can look elegant at display sizes, these lighter weights always stuck out to Finklea as looking “a bit strange” in body copy.


“He always thought of the sea as 'la mar' which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a woman. Some of the younger fishermen, those who used buoys as floats for their lines and had motorboats, bought when the shark livers had brought much money, spoke of her as 'el mar' which is masculine.They spoke of her as a contestant or a place or even an enemy. But the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favours, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought.” ― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

“I think others may consciously or subconsciously feel this way too as I mostly see Regular/Book to Bold weights in the classic grotesk/neo-grotesk fonts. I wanted to make sure that Post Grotesk Light and Thin maintained negative space in proportion to the other weights so that it could easily be used for text. The Light and Thin have actually become my favorite weights.”

The Post Grotesk Family

6 weights, 12 total fonts.

In 2015, Finklea was commissioned by Pentagram to create a custom Black weight for Mia, the Minneapolis Institute of Art. This new weight became the impetus for the expansion of the retail version of the family. In addition to many subtle refinements to the design of the original 4 weights, this newest release of Post Grotesk bookends the weight range of the family, including 4 new styles: Black, Black Italic, Thin, and Thin Italic.

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