I am designing the front cover page for my book in Adobe Illustrator. I would like to have a nice sans serif font for my main title. I chose Lucida Sans (font style = Demibold Roman). However, I have discovered that the small caps (SC) are only simulated and the first larger glyph looks much thicker. Doing a search on fake/simulated SC vs true SC I now understand that this font does not have true SC e.g. by looking at glyphs from Type menue.
My question is, can I download an open type Lucida Sans or similar that would have true SC? Even better I’d like to have a look at all san serif fonts that have true SC and choose the best one (out of the freely available ones – I don’t want to pay for a font). A quick Google search reveals a bunch of sites to download Open Type fonts, but I don’t see search function to specify sans serif + true small caps. Any suggestions appreciated!
Small caps in sans typefaces are somewhat rare. There are some classics available if you dig deep (and have a copy of “The Elements of Typographic Style” by Robert Bringhurst handy, which is how I originally found some of them).
The OpenType Futura issued by the Neufville type foundry includes true small caps and a full range of weights in both regular and condensed. They are sold online by Bauertypes (it helps if you can read Spanish). The versions sold by Adobe, FontFont, etc. do not include small caps.
Monotype’s OpenType issue of Gill Sans also includes small caps.
FF Quadraat Sans is an elegant face with true small caps.
Veer publishes Marlowe, a cousin of Avant Garde, which includes small caps and an array of Avant Garde-esque quirky ligatures.
Adobe’s elegant Hypatia Sans Pro has small caps, many alternate glyphs, stylistic sets and custom ligatures in a very useful range of weights. Tom Phinney drew the roman when he was at Adobe, but the Italic was added a year or so ago.
Other classics such as Frutiger, Franklin Gothic, the various Helveticas and Univers are as barren of small caps as they are of serifs.
[Later addition:] It’s also worth noting that Calibri, which comes bundled with OSes, is a very versatile typeface with true small caps.