A sturdy, warm type family, Tasman's personality is neither mechanical nor delicate; its purpose is unbiased presentation of information and it strives for neutrality over elegance. Its characters are sturdy and unambiguous: strong serifs, punctuation and diacritics, generously sized small caps and hybrid figures. Its letterforms are rationalised, lending the face a robustness under stress in screen applications and laser printing.
Tasman was first conceived as a typeface for newspapers. This influenced the personality of the face considerably: the goal was to keep the personality as warm and playful as possible without losing the tone required to deliver all kinds of news.
Abel Janszoon Tasman (1603–1659) was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant who mapped parts of Australia in 1642, including Van Diemen’s Land, now known as Tasmania. With numerous Australian geographic features named after Tasman, the name feels as Australian as it does Dutch, just as this typeface feels as Dutch as it is Australian.
The degree of contrast between thick and thin strokes varies from weight to weight in the Tasman family. The contrast of the Regular weight is typical of news faces: low enough to remain sturdy, high enough to remain inviting for reading and retain a connection to the liveliness of the pen. Tasman’s Bold weights maintain the lowish contrast found in the Regular, tending towards slab serif proportions. This provides a degree of playfulness and allows them to work well when reversed out of images and solid colours.
The influence of the newspaper can be seen in Tasman's compact uppercase forms and hybrid oldstyle figures. With a three-quarter x-height the figures are considerably larger than traditional oldstyle figures, yet they still integrate with the lowercase much better than lining figures.