The concept for FF Videtur is based on bitmap fonts created by Axel Bertram for the state television broadcaster in East Germany (GDR-TV) during the 1980s. Thorough research and testing – including a broad series of experiments with the specific display conditions of 625-line television screens –... Read more
The concept for FF Videtur is based on bitmap fonts created by Axel Bertram for the state television broadcaster in East Germany (GDR-TV) during the 1980s. Thorough research and testing – including a broad series of experiments with the specific display conditions of 625-line television screens – led to three specific findings:
1. Serif letterforms are easier to recognize than those in monolinear sans serif typefaces.
2. Serifs help stabilize letterforms and improve the reading movement along a line of text. As to the serifs themselves, a balled-knot proved to be the most suitable.
3. An alternating stroke contrast leads to easier differentiation between letters.
Bertram drew his letterforms so that they would be open and functional. He defined the ductus of the television type through moderate contrast and a unique serif shape. In light of the specific display conditions, these design decisions led to the greatest legibility possible for the medium.
FF Videtur is a contemporary translation of this original typeface concept. Nudged forward by Andreas Frohloff, Bertram and Frohloff collaborated to develop the TV-Videtur into a modern text face that harnesses the extreme limitations of the 1980s to deliver a solution for the increasing demands of today’s devices and media. In doing so, their design brilliantly masters both the higher resolution and complex display environments.
Freed from yesteryear’s technical restrictions, all letters were drawn anew. The best characteristics of the earlier forms were kept, but the typeface’s vertical proportions, serif shape, and stroke contrast were carefully reconsidered.
Although FF Videtur doesn’t hide its underlying humanistic forms, it has a workmanlike appearance at first glance. Despite this certain sternness, its warm character is undeniable. The reasons for this are its modest stroke contrast, the open, clearly differentiated letterforms, the relatively short and rounded wedge-formed serifs, as well as the homogenous rhythm it sets in lines of text.
FF Videtur’s four weights support the Latin-based European languages. In addition to both lining and oldstyle figures with proportional and tabular spacing options, the fonts include smaller-sized figures for fractions, scientific inferiors and superiors, as well as a series of arrows, symbols and ornaments. While the Light and Regular weights represent the typical forms of the typeface, the heavier Medium and Bold weights serve for emphasis; these expand the area of application for the family. The necessary changes to the letters’ basic forms remain modest. Collapse description
Further read: Dan Reynolds and Christoph Koeberlin – Socialist TV Typeface Videtur Finally Freed