News: Tagged as Erik Spiekermann

In-use: FF Kievit helps you get where you need to go

FF Kievit in use by Hofstede Design

The Endeavour Hills Shopping Centre – located outside Melbourne, Australia – implements Mike Abbink’s FF Kievit typeface family into its wayfinding and environmental graphics. Hofstede Design began work on the project in late 2006. A symbol incorporating two interlocking ‘E’s forms the central element in their flexible and wide-ranging brand identity program. We caught up with the studio to ask them a couple of questions about the project.

FF Kievit

How did you find working with the typefaces?

The brief was to develop an identity and signage system for a shopping centre on the outskirts of Melbourne. We were commissioned by the design manager who oversaw all aspects of the centre’s redevelopment. We chose FF Kievit because we needed a versatile typeface which could work both in printed material, and also on the signage component. FF Kievit has an ‘approachable’ feel, and we felt it provided just the right mix of legibility and individuality. I think there are some default choices for signage (e.g., Frutiger, Helvetica, etc), and we wanted to do something a little different as well.

On your website, you mention that you are first and foremost graphic designers. Indeed, your portfolio reflects a very considered and real approach to design. What drives your head and hand to keep your originality and inspiration flowing?

I have been working for over twenty years now. Finding inspiration and originality gets harder and harder. As a studio, we strive for individual solutions for our clients, but the reality is that nothing is truly original. We do our best.

FF Kievit and FF Info

FF Kievit is a warm, open sans serif typeface, designed by Mike Abbink and extended by Paul van der Laan. The initial work on the typeface began in 1995. After years of development, the family was first released in 2001. The letters’ proportions make the typeface ideal for use in signage systems. Like many classic faces in this category, designers have found over the years that these forms let in enough light to allow the typeface to work in small print sizes, too.

Some aspects of the Endeavour Hills Shopping Centre design system are set in another FontFont typeface with a signage pedigree of its own: FF Info. In the image above, the pictograms and the arrows come from the family’s symbol fonts FF Info Pict. These were originally designed for use in the airport at Düsseldorf, Germany.

FF Kievit and FF Info in use by Hofstede Design

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In-use: FF Unit in action at the Aviva Stadium

FF Unit

Aviva Stadium’s signage system is set in FontFont’s FF Unit typeface, designed by Erik Spiekermann and Christian Schwartz. Aviva Stadium hosts football and rugby matches, and is also a venue for concerts and other activities. Located in Dublin, Ireland, the stadium opened in 2010 and was designed by Populous in association with Scott Tallon Walker. The signage was designed by Populous Activate. We spoke with Alex Dale, a Senior Graphic Designer in their London office, to get more details about the project.

‘Before anything else, I wanted to use something that was inherently well-crafted’, Dale told us. ‘I wanted to avoid the safe signage choices, and select something a little more unusual and characterful. A unique building deserved a unique typeface. Overall, FF Unit lends itself to alphanumeric information systems – where numerals and letters are seen in isolation – for several reasons:

FF Unit in-use

‘The medium weight is the ideal boldness to reverse out of a dark background, while having all the other weights is useful for things like maps, where you need to communicate lots of different levels of information .

 

‘The default overall fit (or letterspacing) works ‘right out of the box’, in that it's relatively loose compared to some other fonts. A pet peeve of mine is typography on signage set too tight, or not attended to at all.

FF Unit Map 

‘The capitals are recognisable in isolation, which was really useful when it came to labelling the entrances. For instance, the ‘I’ has serifs top and bottom that disambiguate it from a ‘1’ or an ‘l’. Maybe not critical to the success of the system as a whole – people will find their door, eventually – but looking after these things communicates a broader concern for clarity and unambiguity. People pick up on these things and feel looked after.

 

‘The typeface includes gorgeous numerals, with tabular versions, which are ideal for setting number-heavy information. 

FF Unit

‘The alternate glyphs, which we used on the prohibited items signage, let us set nice big, heavy, imposing titles quite tightly, like a proper newspaper headline.

 

‘FF Unit has arrows for all the weights, built right in! A godsend for directional information.

 

‘The characters are fairly tall and narrow, which suited the tall, narrow proportions of the signs. We wanted to minimise the footprint of the signs themselves, because pedestrian space is always at a premium in these kind of environments, while still being readable from a good distance.’

FF Unit

FF Unit

FF Unit is the grown-up, no-nonsense sister of Spiekermann’s FF Meta typeface. FF Unit has been extended with two companion families: FF Unit Slab and FF Unit Rounded. Spiekermann himself is no stranger to signage systems. During the early-1990s, he designed the reunified Berlin’s transit system signage, which uses the FF Transit typeface. FF Info was created for a redesign at the airport in Düsseldorf.

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Spiekermann transforms Olympics typos in record-breaking time

Our founder, Erik Spiekermann tackles the typography of the Olympics with lightning speed and with the help of the Twitter community.

 

Borrowing a screen grab posted by Aegir Hallmundur, Erik spent thirty minutes on a little sketch to transform this

 

Screen grab
 
into this …
 
Erik’s sketch
 

The original design included a number of common typographic mistakes: all caps (which makes it difficult to read), spacing that was too tight, use of italic (which was confusing and redundant), artificial small caps, messy gradations and an uninspired font choice (Arial). 


Using his very own FF Unit, his quick fix improved the legibility, kerning and artificial small caps. His twitter followers then helped to finesse and finalize the picture. Together they proved what a difference good typography makes.


We love the result!

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FF Tisa and FF Meta feature in Instapaper

FF Tisa and FF Meta, two of our bestselling FontFonts, now feature on version 4.1 of the new Instapaper App.

Instapaper — the original ‘Read Later’ tool — allows you to save interesting webpages so that you can read them later. Instapaper cleverly strips away everything except the text offering a very clean, simple and user-friendly reading experience. The new version has been updated and optimized for the new iPad Retina display and has a range of new typefaces including our very own FF Tisa and FF Meta.

Instapaper: FF Tisa Mobile

FF Tisa Mobile is one of the rising stars of our Mobile FontFonts, its proportions make it well suited to all text sizes and the low stroke contrast and dynamic forms make it a really functional screen face. We launched our Mobile FontFonts last October and have recently expanded our range so that they are now compatible on Android App platforms.

FF Meta is one of the signature typefaces of our library, released shortly after we started FontFont. It remains one of the most popular typefaces of the digital age and has expanded over the years to become a very flexible superfamily that is just as fresh as when it was first released. We created a special editable embedding license specifically for Instapaper so that they could embed FF Meta in their app.

Check out MobileFontFonts.com for our full collection of Mobile FontFonts or get in touch with us if you would like to use one of our other typefaces in your app.

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New Release: FF58

BERLIN, GERMANY, December 2011 – FontShop International announced the latest additions to its award-winning FontFont® typeface library.

New Design

FF Ernestine

FF Ernestine

FF Ernestine was born from the search for a versatile monoline text typeface that would feel warm yet serious, feminine yet firm, charming yet sturdy. This resulted in a strong slab serif with playful ball terminals. Its rather large x-height and wide, open shapes enable it to work well down to small sizes; ligatures, stylistic and contextual alternates, a selection of arrows, and two sizes of small caps enrich its typographic palette.

Nina Stössinger first drew the Roman as a study project at the postgraduate Type Design programme in Zurich, and the Italic in dialogue with Hrant Papazian’s Armenian design. Both the Roman and the Italic (which doubles as a harmonious companion to the Armenian component) are available in four individually drawn weights. The four corresponding Armenian weights, nicknamed “Vem” —integrated in the Roman and Italic fonts in the Pro version— share the personable character of the family with proportions optimized for the Armenian script.

Updated and Extended FontFonts

After fonts are released, work continues behind the scenes to improve and extend the usefulness of the faces with the addition of new weights and greater language support. FontFont is pleased to announce extensions to the following typefaces, available immediately.

FF Quadraat and FF Quadraat Sans: Revised and Extended (New Weights, Pro Language Support Including Cyrillic)

FF Quadraat

Fred Smeijers has completely overhauled his most popular superfamily. Both FF Quadraat and FF Quadraat Sans get a noticeable update to their designs. FF Quadraat also adds a new weight, Demi Bold, to the family, FF Quadraat Sans and Sans Condensed now come in the additional weights Thin, Extra Light, Light and Demi Bold. They are now available as Pro versions, including support for both the Latin Extended and Cyrillic character sets.

Learn more about the revised FF Quadraat superfamily in this special specimen PDF (2.8 MB).

Download specimen PDF (2.8 MB).

FF Meta Serif: Extended Language Support (Cyrillic & Greek)

FF Meta Serif

FF Meta Serif by Erik Spiekermann, Christian Schwartz and Kris Sowersby now speaks more languages with glyph support extended to cover Cyrillic and Greek alphabets. FF Meta Serif joins its popular sans companion, FF Meta, in offering this broad range of linguistic ability.

FF Signa: Extended (New Weights)

FF Signa

Ole Søndergaard continues to expand his popular super family FF Signa with another addition. The face adds six fonts in three new weights: Extra Light, Extra Black, and Ultra, each with its italic companion. They all support Cyrillic.

New Office and Web FontFonts

FF QType

FF QType by Achaz Reuss offers its additional weights, Compressed, Condensed, Extended, and Semi Extended in new formats, Office and Web. Just a refresher: Offc FontFonts are the best choice for all who work with the widely-used Office apps like Word®, Excel® and PowerPoint®. Pro means that it also supports additional languages (Latin Extended).

FF Skill Sets: The Right Fonts for All Purposes

With thousands of FontFonts to choose from, the options can be as daunting as they are exciting. So let the experts do the work for you. Typography masters Erik Spiekermann and Jürgen Siebert handpicked the best FontFonts, and compiled them in three Skill Sets — for advertising, editorial, and corporate design. Simply select which Skill Set best suits your practice, and you can start designing without fuss. Not only will you have all the right fonts licensed in one collection, you’ll save a bundle of cash too.

Learn more about FontFont Skill Sets here.

FontFont Library Tiers

Introducing FontFont Library Tiers: Premium, Collection and Free

In an effort to minimize the amount of time customers spend choosing fonts, we have split our library into three distinct tiers, dubbed the FontFont Library Tier system. Watch out for further information that will come in another post next week.

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Win a copy of ‘Explorations in Typography’

 Explorations in Typography Book

Carolina de Bartolo’s and Erik Spiekermann’s visual textbook Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting became quite successful right after its release in summer 2011 (see review on Typographica). We have ordered a few that we would like to give away with a little lottery drawing. All you need to do is send us one or more examples from the projects where you have used FontFonts. Five participants who win the lottery will get a free copy. The in-use examples can be sent as PDFs or images with a minimum size of 1000x200 pixels to info@fontfont.com until November 28, 2011.

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New release: FF56

FontFont designers have been recipients of prestigious type design awards, but few can claim to have been even before their creations were officially published. Ludwig Übele’s FF Tundra — a recipient of a Certificate of Excellence in Type Design at this year’s TDC2 competition — is now available for licensing. Other new releases are Jörg Hemker’s versatile sans FF Sero; the informal cousin of the popular FF Mister K; a monospaced variant for FF Nuvo; and stencil versions for the Danish sans/serif type system FF Signa.

The new designs

FF Sero

FF Sero

FF SeroJörg Hemker’s versatile sans FF Sero combines the striking forms of an American grotesque with the legibility of a humanist sans serif typeface. It has open contours, a distinct x-height and a homogeneous grayscale value. During seven years of development the classic letter forms have matured into a balanced, sovereign typeface. Eight harmonized weights and an extensive character set allow for a flexible and versatile typography. Cyrillic and Greek characters provide an extended language support.

For a limited time, FF Sero Medium is available for free download in OT, Offc and Web formats. Download it on the Goodies page.

FF Tundra

FF Tundra

FF TundraLudwig Übele’s award-winning design FF Tundra is a narrow serif typeface with stressed forms and soft contours. The idea evolved from investigating how a narrow typeface should look for optimal readability. To avoid a fence-effect, FF Tundra emphasizes the horizontal line. Ludwig Übele combined strong serifs, flat shoulders (see n) and open but heavy endings (see a, e, c) with a moderate contrast to achieve a balanced, legible typeface with a certain softness and humanity. FF Tundra has been designed for continuous text, but is also suitable for magazines and headlines (especially the Extra Light) and will surely work in newspapers as well. The family consists of six weights from Extra Light to Bold, each with Italics and Small Caps and many OpenType layout features.

FF Mister K Informal

FF Mister K Informal

FF Mister K Informal – This new design by Julia Sysmäläinen is the latest offspring of the FF Mister K font family. It began in one of Kafka’s Quart Notebooks with handwritten texts that look astonishingly clear. The letter forms are carefully placed line after line but still reveal the author’s characteristic writing style. There is a simple explanation: These are final, rewritten texts. The first version — loaded with heavy editing and correction marks — can be found elsewhere in Kafka’s literary remains. The strong personality of FF Mister K is often appreciated, but some designers find it too unpredictable for down-to-earth target groups. So enriching the K Family with a clear, friendly looking member derived from Kafka’s stylistic repertoire seemed predestined by the users’ needs.

FF Nuvo Mono

FF Nuvo Mono

FF Nuvo MonoSiegfried Rückel expands his magazine typeface FF Nuvo with a monospaced variant for all weights, including Small Caps and Italics. This offers new options for traditional and unusual designs. The design retains its stroke endings with “chipped” corners, which make them appear soft when seen from a distance or in small point sizes, but reveal their peculiar forms at a closer look. However its x-height was lowered somewhat in comparison to FF Nuvo to emphasize FF Nuvo Mono’s typewriter character. The calligraphic touch in the characters a, g and y make this typeface stand out among other typewriter-like faces, as do the alternate characters for a, g, k, s and y, which add typographic versatility.

FF Signa Stencil/FF Signa Serif Stencil

FF Signa Stencil

FF Signa Stencil/FF Signa Serif StencilOle Søndergaard’s stencil faces can be used to produce actual stencils, but more often than not they are selected for their unique aesthetic. It is fascinating to see how separate “floating” fragments combine to form recognizable character shapes. The way those letters are cut up gives a stencil design its specific character. FF Signa — a typically Danish typeface — is rooted in architectural lettering rather than book typography. This sans serif of concise letter forms and a minimum of detail joined the growing collection of sans/serif type systems when the serif variant was added in 2005. Now both versions are available as stylish stencil designs.

Updated and extended FontFonts

FF Info

FF Info

FF Info Text, FF Info Display, FF Info Correspondence ProErik Spiekermann’s and Ole Schäfer’s FF Info Office is the typeface Erik Spiekermann himself feels should be more popular “because it works well on screen and is really cool but nobody has found it behind the larger FF Info Text and Display families.” It has been renamed FF Info Correspondence to avoid confusion with the Office font format. The complete FF Info family, one of the best wayfinding type systems, has now been upgraded to Pro language support and has been carefully fine-tuned.

FF Profile

FF Profile

FF ProfileMartin Wenzel’s FF Profile is one of the more beautiful humanist sans serifs in the FontFont library. This clear, uncluttered and attractive family based on the broad-nibbed pen was already available in OpenType Pro format. Its character set was expanded to include Greek.

New Offc and Web FontFonts

FF Dolores
FF Dolores (Tobias Frere-Jones)

FF Gothic
FF Gothic (Neville Brody)

FF Kipp
FF Kipp (Claudia Kipp)

FF OCR-F
FF OCR-F (Albert-Jan Pool)

FF Sari
FF Sari (Hans Reichel)

FF Utility
FF Utility (Lukas Schneider)

FF Zwo
FF Zwo (Jörg Hemker, Henning Krause)

FF Zwo Correspondence
FF Zwo Correspondence (Jörg Hemker, Henning Krause)

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New release: FF55

BERLIN, GERMANY, April 2011 – FSI FontShop International announced the latest additions to its award-winning FontFont® typeface library.

The new designs

FF SpinozaMax Phillips developed FF Spinoza over a period of eleven years. With the goal of readability in mind, Phillips named the typeface after 17th century rationalist and lens-grinder Baruch Spinoza, a man whose job it was to help people see clearly. The family is meant as an elegant workhorse, a classic text family with just enough individual character to hold its own in display sizes. It was inspired by mid-century German book faces like Trump Mediaeval and Aldus, and by the types of Nicolas Kis. The forms are narrow and economical, with open counters. The line is firm and distinct. It has strong thick strokes and serifs to help it grip the page. Its intended virtues are firmness, clarity and modesty.

FF Spinoza

Download the FF Spinoza specimen (PDF, 1.9 MB).

FF More — It’s easy to find sans serif typefaces with multiple widths and weights, but large serif families are much less common. The 30-font FF More fills this void. Five weights in each of Condensed, Regular, and Wide widths answer every need of publication design, from strong headlines to readable text and space-efficient information graphics. FF More’s sturdy serifs and gentle contrast withstand the rigors of magazine and newspaper design — retaining clarity despite size, background, or substrate.

Łukasz Dziedzic built FF More to work alongside FF Good, resulting in a powerhouse superfamily, versatile in both its function and aesthetic.

FF More

Download the FF More specimen (PDF, 5.4 MB).

Updated and extended FontFonts

FF Meta HebrewErik Spiekermann’s FF Meta is the foundation of the FontFont library, released at the label’s inception and still a signature of the brand. Its ancestor – PT55 (1985) – was conceived for the West German Post Office as a economical typeface for use at small point sizes, but once FF Meta was released to the public it was used for nearly everything, quickly becoming one of the most popular typefaces of the computer era. It has been called the “Helvetica of the ’90s”  – not because the two typefaces have anything aesthetically in common – but because FF Meta fulfills so well the needs of modern communication. Oded Ezer designed a Hebrew version for Book and Bold.

FF Meta Hebrew

FontFont Release 55 marks a distinctive milestone — the entire FF library is now available in OpenType, while PostScript formats have been retired.

In addition, more FontFont families were converted to the Offc format (e.g. FF Sanuk and FF Isonorm). An important improvement is that Small Caps are now bundled for Offc fonts — if a font has a Small Caps version it is sold together with its companion, heavily discounting the Small Caps font.

On the OpenType Pro front, FF Sanuk was extended to Pro, and the lightest weights of FF Meta Pro, FF Meta Condensed Offc Pro, and FF Signa Correspondence Pro all received Cyrillic upgrades.

New Web FontFonts

New Web FontFonts

Aside from the two new families, ten more popular FontFont families were converted to webfonts: FF Balance, FF Chambers Sans, FF Isonorm, FF Magda, FF Oxide, FF Pitu, FF QType Square, FF SanukFF Signa Correspondence and FF Tartine Script. Web FontFonts are optimized for use on web pages using the @font-face rule. This means websites can now display HTML text in fonts other than the handful of “web safe” options of yesteryear. Because HTML text is far more flexible and easier to update than an image, using Web FontFonts gives the user customized, dynamic type. Furthermore, branded typography on web pages can be found and indexed by search engines. Text is also more accessible to users with disabilities. And because it can be resized, copied, and edited by website visitors, webfonts allow for stylized interfaces, forms, and applications without relying on Flash or other hacks.

Learn more about our different formats here.

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Brand-new website

FontShop International re-launched FontFont.com, the online home for the largest library of contemporary type designs. Read more about it in the News.

The new FontFont.com is a complete reconstruction of the digital foundry’s website. Everything is new and enhanced, from the visual design and navigation to the search functionality and shopping experience. But the most radical improvement is in the presentation of the fonts themselves.

Ivo Gabrowitsch, Project Lead and FSI Marketing Director, said,

“At the start of the project we wrote down three goals: easy-to-use, clean, and fast. After ten months of intensive work, this is exactly what the new FontFont.com is about. That and big, gorgeous typefaces, of course.”

Focus on the fonts

Indeed, the typefaces are now the clear focus of the website. Product information, formats, and other secondary details don’t appear until they are useful in the user’s selection process.

This new approach is most obvious at the heart of FontFont.com, the Browse section, where extra large typeface samples appear without superfluous information and distractions. A unique grid layout allows for easy comparison, regardless of browser window size. Users can filter typefaces by Style (such as Blackletter, Script, Serif, Sans, etc.) or Intended Use (such as Advertising, Editorial & Publishing, Wayfinding, etc.) and sort alphabetically, chronologically, or by characteristics like family size and language support. The sample size and text can be customized as well. There is even a white-on-black option for previewing fonts in a reversed setting.

Screenshot Browse section
A unique grid layout allows for easy comparison in the Browse section

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New release: FF53

BERLIN, GERMANY, June 2010 – FSI FontShop International announced the latest additions to its award-winning FontFont® typeface library.

The new FontFonts

FF Amman came into existence as Yanone’s graduation project at Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. In late 2008, Yanone set out to Amman, the capital of Jordan, following an invitation by Ahmad Humeid from the local design and branding office Syntax. They were to re-brand the capital’s municipality in preparation of Amman’s centennial celebrations.

FF Amman Sans Pro

First and main part of Yanone’s diptychon »Amman The FFilm« about the making of the FF Amman typeface for Jordan’s capital on occasion of its centennial celebrations in 2009. 

Never officially commissioned as a custom typeface, it was rather a birthday present from Syntax and Yanone for Amman, and the perfect university graduation project for Yanone. In the end, the typeface with several typographic novelties has been widely used for all kinds of municipal services in Amman. The family consists of seven sans and four serif weights, each with their true Italics and both Latin and Arabic character sets. It is one of the largest bilingual families ever made, one of the few designed bilingually from scratch and the first containing true Arabic Italics.

FF DIN Round Pro

FF DIN Round — This welcome addition to FontFont’s most popular family brings a softness to FF DIN’s simplicity and industrial sterility. FF DIN Round is more than a “search-and-replace” rounded version of its predecessor. Albert-Jan Pool and his team redrew each letterform to maintain the structure of the original. This ensures FF DIN and FF DIN Round will work well together in logos, slogans, price tags, etc. as compatible parts of advertising campaigns and corporate identities.

FF DIN Round is not only a good companion to FF DIN, its smooth and friendly curves make it work on its own for branding strategies for family cars, bikes, household appliances, sportswear, shoes, or medical products. It’s also very legible on screen.

FF Suhmo Pro

FF Suhmo is inspired by classic Egyptian and typewriter fonts such as Courier and American Typewriter, which feature headline and text use. This impressive duality was Alex Rütten’s guideline for the concept of FF Suhmo. At the same time, many formal details were derived from the typical neon-lettering you can find on aged Italian restaurants in Germany. FF Suhmo has short ascenders and descenders and a generous x-height, making it a good choice for editorial design. It combines simplicity and functionality with playfulness, offering interesting details such as loops and swashes and a slight stroke contrast. Its varied details are unobtrusive in text sizes while developing character and sparkle in headlines.

FF Suhmo’s extensive character set includes numerous special characters and ligatures, several figure sets and small caps throughout all styles. The family consists of 4 weights: Light, Regular, Bold and Black, each with an Italic. The weights were staggered to complement each other within a layout, the Black corresponding to the Regular and the Light corresponding to the Bold weight, allowing words or phrases to be clearly stressed within a text. The Italics are lighter than the Roman and have a relatively slight angle of slope. The forms are derived from a manual writing process and often cross the base-line or the x-height.

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