News: Tagged as FF Tundra

Featured Web FontFonts, July 2013

Our July round up of Web FontFonts in use features the likes of FF Typestar by eBoy’s Steffen SauerteigMitja Miklavčič’s subtle yet graceful FF Tisa and Michael Abbink’s ever so popular FF Kievit. Silvio Napoleone’s FF Hydra Text and Ludwig Übele’s FF Tundra also make an appearance. 

Rob Meek – FF Typestar Web and FF Tisa Web

Rob Meek Website

Rob Meek is an information architect, interface designer and developer with a fair few typography-related projects under his belt. His portfolio site features the geometric but typographically refined FF Typestar Web as headers teamed with the softer serifs of FF Tisa Web as body copy. 

Lean Day: West – FF Kievit Web

Lean Day:West Website

Portland Oregon will be playing host to this year’s Lean Day:West – a series of events focusing on implementing and practicing lean startup in the enterprise. Both thicks and thins from the FF Kievit family are used extensively throughout the site including FF Kievit Black Web as headlines through to FF Kievit Regular Web for copy.

Woodtype Research – FF Hydra Text Web and FF Tundra Web

Wood Type Research Website

Is wood your type? Wood Type Research is a blog dedicated to current research in wood type design, manufacture and use circa nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The sans of Silvio Napoleone’s FF Hydra Text Web along with the serifs of Ludwig Übele’s FF Tundra Web is fitting to set the tone for this homage and documentation to all things wood type.

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Ludwig Übele on the origin of FF Tundra

Definition of Tundra: sub-polar regions found north of the Arctic timberline and characterised by permafrost

Ludwig Übele on the origin of his FF Tundra typeface. The original article, in German, appeared in Typographische Monatsblätter.

FF Tundra

“Five years ago, I saw a page of text from St. Augustine’s The City of God. It was hand set in the Bremer Press’s 12-point Antiqua face and had been printed in 1925 at the Bremer Press in Munich. I was thrilled. The even colour of the text on the page fascinated me, as did the balanced lines of readable text and the liveliness of the letters. How did this typeface manage to do all that? How should a typeface be designed so that it can lead the eye so perfectly along each line of text?

Two years later, I picked up the question again. At that time, I was thinking about condensed text faces. Condensed types are popular because they save a lot of space; they can bring about a better line-wrap in narrow columns. For headlines, they are naturally advantageous, because they can pack more information into a line. Admittedly, condensed faces are usually more difficult to read, since their narrowness allows for less differentiation of form. They squeeze the text image too much and present a more monotonous appearance.

FF Tundra

Generally speaking, a typeface has two directions: the horizontal movement of the line, which helps move the eye forward during the reading process, and the vertical ‘picket fence’ effect. Vertical strokes in close proximity to one another are so loud, visually, that a monotonous grid develops automatically. This looks very much like the fences found around gardens or yards. Too much emphasis on the verticals bores and tires the reading eye and slows down its natural movements, because too much information is pressed into a line (with extended typefaces, the opposite occurs: the eye travels at a faster speed than it can actually read at). My conclusion after this consideration was as follows:

A condensed type must suppress the dominant vertical strokes by emphasising horizontal movement. In order to preserve their specific character, particular detail must be paid to the rounded forms.

How could I bring both directions – the horizontal and the vertical – together in the best possible way? The question brought me back to the Bremer Press’s Antiqua, because in my opinion, this typeface did just that.

The beauty of The City of God is primarily brought about by its perfectly-tuned typography: point size, line-spacing, and line length. The typeface itself is relatively broad and spaciously set. Due to multiple width versions of the letters f, r, s, t, ch and ck, word spaces could be more easily balanced. Asymmetrical serifs in the reading direction lead the eye forward and support the band-form effect of the lines. Flat shoulders and open apertures emphasise the horizontal. Would it be possible to bring these features over to a condensed type, and minimise the dominance of the vertical strokes?

FF Tundra

FF Tundra is not an extremely narrow typeface, and it should not ever become one. Rather, it is intended as a versatile and usable serif face. It is compact and space-saving, offering great readability in small sizes. Short ascenders and descenders allow for tight linespacing, which is particularly advantageous in magazine design. Like the Bremer Press Antiqua, I gave the letters in FF Tundra’s first draft asymmetrical serifs. These looked pretty good on the lowercase letters. Uppercase letters are constructed differently, however. They are more static, and do not have the same written dynamic that lowercase letters do. For the uppercase letters, it did not make any sense to only have serifs on the top-left and bottom-right sides; the letters looked mutilated, and the missing serifs contradicted the logic of the uppercase forms. I decided to give the typeface serifs on both sides of each stroke, as is typical.

Rather untypical for condensed typefaces, however, are the serif forms that made it into in the final typeface. These are strong – almost cantilevered. The round bracketing on the serifs gives the vertical strokes an elegant conclusion and diverts the eye towards the reading direction. The serifs tie the individual letters together, so to speak. And – perhaps more importantly – they limit the vertical extent of the typeface. Particularly along the baseline and the x-height, they form the edges of a band that gives the lines of text a calmer feeling.

For the reading process, the area between the baseline and the x-height is the most important: this is where the most complex parts of the letterforms are found, and these are the elements that give the typeface its unique character. In order to further strengthen the horizontal flow, the letters’s shoulders and joining stokes have been flattened. The apertures of the rounder letters are robust and open. Due to their minimal stroke contrast, the c and the e appear as if they have come out of a sans serif design. The rounded outstroke of the t is sturdy and flat. The outstrokes of the a, d, and u run directly to the baseline. The thickest parts of the curves are not at the left and the right, but have been pushed to the top and the bottom, in order to create a light northwesterly axis.

Overall, the forms have been drawn to fill up as much space as possible. Because of this, when the typeface is set in small point sizes, FF Tundra appears larger than it actually is. The r is not a cropped n, but rather an independent form. Contrary to the other letters, the transition from the tail to the stem is rounded. This references related forms, like the c and the f. The top half of the g is larger than is common. The sweep of the strokes in y and j are projecting and ample. The tail of the J, on the other hand, tapers out in a similar fashion as the Q. K and k are each made up of two separate forms. The lower legs feature serifs on just one side, which is nevertheless strengthened on the left, to increase stability. The same is true for the foot of the R. In general, all diagonal strokes are tapered towards an internal acute angle.

FF Tundra

The italics also follow the principle of the best-possible line formation. Their lowercase letters feature real serifs at the top-left, whereas their outstrokes at the bottom-right are the sort of rounded forms typical for italics. Nevertheless, these are still somewhat flattened in FF Tundra. f, p, and q have calligraphic terminals. The base of the z points diagonally downwards, referencing its written origin. Even the diagonal letters v, w, and y are zestfully formed.

FF Tundra

FF Tundra is available in six weights. The specific letter construction model is particularly beneficial for lighter styles. This might be due to the moderate stroke contrast. Because of this, I drew an Extra Light weight, in addition to the Light. In the Extra Light, the stroke contrast is lessened even further. In my opinion, many of the finest contemporary serif typefaces are designed with too much stroke contrast. Maybe this is a result of careless extrapolation.

FF Tundra includes multiple figure options, including proportional and tabular oldstyle figures as well as superiors and inferiors. The loops of the 6 and the 9 are open. A slashed-zero is available via an OpenType feature. Also available via the OpenType features is an automatic substitution mechanism for problematic letter combinations. The f will be replaced with a narrower version when it is followed by specific characters – usually accented letters – that would collide with it. There is a beautiful g-y ligature, too.”

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FF Tundra takes a starring role in the newly redesigned ‘stern’

Newsstands in Germany have looked a little different since March 14, 2013 – the day the redesigned stern magazine premiered. A weekly news magazine, stern is one of the major journalistic publications serving the German-language market. Whenever a well-established brand changes its appearance, typography and typeface selection are two of the many factors to be considered. In this case, stern decided to use FF Tundra as its main text face. While this is just a small element of the magazine’s new guise, it plays the most essential part of its reading experience.

FF Tundra for stern magazine

The typography of the redesigned stern appears quite objective. A number of typefaces are used throughout its pages, but each font has a specific role to play. The magazine is printed on brilliant white paper, with most text being either black or red. Aside from FF Tundra, stern also uses Kris Sowersby’s Metric typeface. That family may be found in sub-headlines and image captions, for instance. A condensed sans serif with rounded corners, Soft Press by Patrick Griffin is used on the magazine’s cover and for the drop-caps at the start of articles. This has something of a woodtype poster feeling, but the letters’ rounded corners also tie into several currents common to contemporary digital design.

FF Tundra for stern magazine

The headlines for most of articles inside the magazine are set in Nimbus Roman by URW++. Like Metric, Nimbus helps root stern’s typography in a German graphic design tradition. It calls to mind the paperback covers designed by Willy Fleckhaus for the Suhrkamp publishing house in the 1970s.

FF Tundra for stern magazine

FF Tundra itself is a rather new creation. Designed for FontFont by Berlin-based Ludwig Übele in 2011, FF Tundra was intended for magazine-setting right from the drawing board. The principal tenant of its design is its stress on horizontal movement. FF Tundra’s letterforms are rather narrow, but their long, flat serifs seem to stretch them out somewhat. The curved elements of some letters have been simplified and flattened. This increases the size of the letters’ counterforms, which is a common method to improve legibility, as well as strengthening the horizontal-ness of the typeface. A pleasant effect of FF Tundra’s reinforcement of the horizontals is that its letters appear to push the reader’s eye forward across lines of text. 

Since FF Tundra is stern’s new text face, it appears throughout the magazine in just a single point size. The features of its family are however employed in full. FF Tundra’s Italic is used in articles when necessary, as is the Bold weight and the fonts’ oldstyle figures.

FF Tundra for stern magazine

As is common for European magazines of its kind, stern is printed on gravure presses, instead of with an offset lithography technique. Gravure printing really allows colour photographs to look their best, giving them more depth than offset presses typically would. stern uses a thin coated paper stock, like that seen in many gravure-printed magazines. While the combination of gravure printing and this stock are great for images, they can really kill text; offset printing allows text to be printed much more clearly and sharply. Designers specifying typefaces for gravure printing must be extra careful, and it is here where the decision to apply FF Tundra to the redesign really pays off. Despite all of the little dots that appear around each letter – a typical hallmark of gravure printing – the images of FF Tundra’s letters remain clean and readable.

FF Tundra for stern magazine

This redesign of stern was coordinated by the magazine’s editorial team and supported by the art director, Johannes Erler (a FontFont-designer in his own right), as well as by Luke Hayman from Pentagram’s New York office. Ludwig Übele also revised the new logotype for stern. We’d like to congratulate the stern design team on the successful stern redesign, and for selecting FF Tundra in the process.

Learn more about the redesign process on Pentagram’s website.

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In-use: FF Tundra featured in Peek & Cloppenburg

FF Tundra is now a trendsetter!

FF Tundra for Peek & Cloppenburg

Peek & Cloppenburg KG, the international fashion and lifestyle retailer have recently relaunched their online presence. Part of the new design includes one of our newer typefaces, FF Tundra.

The Hamburg-based brand and e-commerce agency Medienwerft was responsible for the Peek & Cloppenburg project. At the heart of the redesign is the positioning and presentation of Trendmagazin, an online and print publication that features seasonal trends, the absolute must-haves and exclusive deals and offers. FF Tundra Web Extra Light Italic is featured through the publication and on the Trendmagazin section of the website.

FF Tundra for Peek & Cloppenburg

What is particularly noteworthy about the use of Ludwig Übele’s FF Tundra in this project is the contemporary elegance of the italic that manages to master the high demands of the fashion industry. It is present when it is the central point of focus, yet it also steps discreetly into the background when needed. A perfect model that is certainly en vogue for more than just one season.

Have a look at all in-use examples of FF Tundra.

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FontFonter Bookmarklet now available

FontFonter.com is an innovative web tool by FontFont that lets you temporarily replace a site’s fonts with Web FontFonts. With the new FontFonter Bookmarklet you can try Web FontFonts on any website! Installing it is easy: simply drag the bookmarklet on FontFonter.com to your bookmarks toolbar.

Here are the latest Web FontFonts to be added to FontFonter.com:

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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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TDC2 2011: FF Suhmo and FF Tundra

Hearty congratulations to designer Alex Rütten for winning an award with his very first FontFont release, FF Suhmo. Rütten’s playful typewriter-style slab serif is one of two outstanding FontFont entries to receive a Certificate of Excellence in Type Design at this year’s TDC2 competition. FF Suhmo follows in a long line of FontFonts that have been crowned with Type Directors Club awards in the past, such as FF Strada, FF Unit, FF Absara or FF Profile. This year’s award also went to FF Tundra, designed by Ludwig Übele, who will also be publishing his latest design under the FontFont label soon … stay tuned for more on this. 

FF Suhmo
FF Suhmo, selected by the TDC to receive the Certificate of Excellence in Type Design 2011.

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