National Design Award by Slovak Design Centre 1997: FF Eureka
The Národná cena za dizajn (National Design Award) has been awarded every odd year since 1993 by the Slovak Design Centre and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Slovak Republic.
Participation in the competition is open to domestic or foreign designers co-operating with a Slovak manufacturer, to domestic or foreign manufacturers co-operating with a Slovak designer, and to students of design, design studios and clients. An international jury drawn from industrial and graphic designers and specialists assesses contesting works. The National Design Award is the highest form of recognition in this area of creative work.
The original drawings for FF Eureka date from 1995 when it was designed for the bilingual text of “Transparency”. The typeface works especially well for languages with accented characters. Many contemporary western typefaces have large x-heights which leave little room to accommodate accents, the result is that they are small and cramped. However, in many languages the accents are an integral part of the alphabet and shouldn’t be reduced in size and importance. In order to maintain a proper rhythm in the text, Biľak adjusted the proportions of the typeface. The height of the ascenders and descenders is 1.7 times the x-height. This relatively small x-height leaves room for longer descenders and ascenders which in turn better accommodate accents and punctuation, it also gives the typeface its distinctive character. The large serifs visually balance the larger accents. FF Eureka’s proportions result in an economic typeface and allow the letters to be spaced more loosely. This is important for, as Biľak says: “It is the white space that we unconsciously read, not the actual letterforms. Looser spacing helps to avoid the typographic noise inside a text, and retains the individuality of the letters.” FF Eureka Mono extends the FF Eureka family by a monospaced version, FF Eureka Sans by a sans serif version.