Mason Sans is the sans-serif version of Mason Serif. As with Mason Serif, inspiration is drawn from architecture, but in the case of Mason Sans, the reference points include early European modernism and the early 20th-century buildings of London. Typographically, Mason Sans is informed by the work of Edward Johnston and Eric Gill, two phenomenally important figures in British typography and a big influence in the formative college years of Jonathan Barnbrook.
The naming of Mason has a somewhat controversial history. It was originally named Manson, after the serial killer Charles Manson, to express extreme opposite emotions — love and hate, beauty and ugliness. However, after some complaints and a suggestion from distributors Emigre, the name was changed to Mason as the letterforms also evoke stonecutters’ work, Freemasons’ symbology, and pagan iconography.
In 2011 Mason Sans was one of 23 digital typefaces included in the permanent architecture and design collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It has become one of our most recognisable and widely used typefaces, including by such companies as the BBC and Walt Disney.