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In our latest ‘At Home With’ series, we caught up with our founder Erik Spiekermann as he takes us through the Berlin townhouse he shares with Susanna Dulkinys and talks about printing presses, his most hated typefaces and what led him to become a typomaniac.
You have an enormous printing workshop packed with extraordinary machines and all kinds of type. Can you talk us through what you have in your workshop?
I have a small proofing press, a Korrex Nürnberg 38 by 55 cm. It prints letterpress from wood or lead type, woodcuts, polymer plates or anything higher than its surroundings. I have lots of metal and wood type, from 8 point Akzidenz Grotesk to 33 line wood type, plus all the other stuff needed to set type. And also two table-top platen presses which in German we call Boston-Pressen.
Can you recall how your interest for paper, type and the smell of (ink) color – the aphrodisiacs of printing – first came into being?
Yes. When I was around seven or eight, we had a neighbour who was a printer. I remember him showing me a piece of white paper. Then he showed me a printing forme – some columns of type and all the furniture around it – which looked very complicated and messy to me: a lot of metal and ink. Then he took a proof from that forme onto the white paper, and like magic it showed only a few precise black marks, while the paper was still clean and white. Those marks were letters that I could read and the whole process was a miracle to me. That is when I fell for type and printing. Now I come back to that original technology of putting marks on paper: letterpress printing.
You had a printing workshop back in the seventies but unfortunately it caught fire. It must have been absolutely devastating … Now looking back with healed wounds: do you think there was something positive about it?
After my workshop, presses and type burnt down, I had only pencil and paper left, plus my brain and experience with type – all the tools a graphic designer needed at the time. I was forced into a career that I had no formal training for. And still don’t. But in a situation like that it didn’t matter. I just sketched type for other people to set and became knowledgable about photosetting and type design. Two years after the fire in 1977, I designed my first typeface for Berthold, LoType.
When working on a project for the press, what criteria do you have for choosing the right typeface? What are the differences with working on a computer?
If I had to print letterpress, longer text – which I would never do – but if I had to, obviously then you pick what you have and when I used to work in printing in the 60s and 70s, a printer had a certain amount of typefaces and you would pick from those. And if you didn’t have a 9 point you would pick 8 or 10 and make it fit somehow. That was both inhibiting and also at the same time ... – maybe these days, I realize how liberating it was. Lack of choice just made your day a lot shorter because you just didn’t have to think about, you just took whatever was there.
Now of course we have all these choices and I’m spending a lot of time trying to keep updated with what’s going on and I have no hope of being updated at all ever. I have some friends, like Stephen Coles who is younger and therefore even more in touch than I am, but I call people, I ask people, I try to look at everything. When it comes to picking a typeface I still do what I always did, I look at the potential (font) size, the size of the page, the readership, the way it’s printed. Does it need to be heavy or light? Is there a lot of copy? Is it 9 and a half point, is it 10 point? And then you narrow down your choices and in the end you take something that fits the copy.
I just did a book that is kind of like a diary where somebody wrote about her parents who both lived in the 50s and 60s. So I didn’t want to use a nostalgic typeface because the 50s and 60s stuff was mostly ugly, but I didn’t want to do something that was too fashionable. Obviously it couldn’t be Bodoni or Helvetica, so I ended up using a typeface that was made for magazines/newspapers that looks fairly ordinary and has a little edge to it maybe and I picked a slightly heavy version which does exist and is not so thin on the paper. The paper is even a little yellowish, so the whole book has a slightly… not nostalgic, but period feel about it. It’s not brand new, it is not glossy white but it’s not nostalgic either. In the end it’s down to the length of copy, form and the size. I first set the book in 10 point on 14, and then it was just too long. It looked too big on the page, because of the page size given. So I went back to 9 and a half on 13, and it looked perfect. So it’s always a mix of things. There are also some faces I don’t like at all and some stuff I’ve always loved and I’m always waiting for an opportunity to use them. And luckily, this face is Lyon and I finally could use it.
Which typefaces don’t you like?
I don’t like typefaces that everybody uses. I don’t like Helvetica, because it’s boring and it’s not a typeface, it’s an attitude. Or lack of attitude. And I would never use it in a million years except romantically. Ironically, I said to my wife, that I want my tombstone to be set in Rotis, because that would be ironic and my friends would get it. That is sort of the last word. And I don’t like mannered typefaces, those typefaces that are designed on a principle like Avant Garde Gothic. Everything is meant to be geometric. Those don’t work. Same as Rotis. I like the ones that are a new take on an old classic. Lyon is a take on Times. Like FF Scala is a take on Garamond – it’s not a re-creation, but it’s that same kind of thinking, it has the same kind of feel, it just makes it new. Not in details, it’s not about having a triangular serif or some corners cut off – it just has a different feel to it. I like bread. And I try different breads all the time, they’re all made from wheat or rye, but they are all slightly different. You don’t know what’s different but the taste is different. I don’t care how they make it. I just like the choices. In German we call it Brotschriften – the daily bread of type.
No, I think they were made digitally and they should remain digital. It would be totally ridiculous to cast them in metal. I might have a text that would look good in one of those typefaces and then I would maybe make a polymer plate – a nyloprint as we call it in Germany. I don’t even think I’m going to print books because everybody prints books. I’m not sure what I’m going to be printing. I like bigger size stuff. It may just be words. Single letters, words. I like a poster that just says RGB – in black of course. That is some sort of stuff I want to do. I actually have a project where I want to print a series of sixty or a hundred three-letter words in English. And then you can make sentences from it. I might even do two-letter words. Or in German I might have to do twenty five-letter words, whatever. I’m just want to explore language, because if you print a word on a poster, it has a different life. It’s different from just writing on a piece of paper. People want it to make sense. If you put twenty words in front of somebody, they try to make sense. They try to build a sentence, because that’s how we are. We want to read stuff. That interests me. Using my own type is sometimes due, because they are there, I don’t have to pay for them anymore, I get a free sample when I license them through FontFont, and I know them well and they usually work. Sometimes it’s a little embarrassing like in this case with this book. I would have never done it in one of my typefaces. It would have been quite appropriate, but it’s kind of embarrassing. Oh yeah, here is Spiekermann using his own typefaces, bla bla bla, boring boring boring. No, it wouldn’t be right, just because it’s mine. I do use them whenever it’s appropriate but not all the time. There is too much stuff out there. It’s too boring using my own stuff.
But you have a wood type version of FF Meta, right?
Yes, a student from Vancouver cut it. There is only one letter each, so it’s going to be difficult to use it. Well, you can set “Hamburgerfonstiv” from it and some pangrams, where you have only one letter each. But I haven’t used it yet. I will do, now that I’ve got all the big machines together. I’m trying to move into a big space and then I’m going to have 5 proofing presses, or maybe 6 proofing presses. I think I’m going to get in the Guinness Book of Records for having the most proofing presses in one shop. And they are all going to be painted gray: RAL-Lichtgrau 7035, like this place.
You have a passion for numbering stamps. Can you tell us more about that?
Essentially, it is a little device that prints a number and then on the next print a plunger comes down, moves a number on a wheel and it prints the next number, so you’re numbering the prints that you do.
I like the mechanical device. It is incredibly beautiful. It has those generic numbers. It’s difficult to print because you really have to give it a lot of pressure, so the plunger goes down, and then moves to the next number. Also it means I keep track, because you always forget how many numbers you’ve printed. Was it a 110 or 120 I never know. This counts it. Also, if you’re printing letterpress, you do tend to print limited runs. And this is a good proof. Because you can’t forge that. Well, you can print 200 and then you can print 200 again, I guess. But for me it is a good reference and it’s genuine and I like the fact that it always looks a little messy. They’re very mechanic and I have 20 stamps and I’m going to buy another 20. Then I’m going to make a poster that has only 40 numbering stamps on it and they are all going to be set to a different number and they all change every time I print them, for instance, 20 to the power of 20 minus 1, which is pretty cool. So I have to print over a million posters before they repeat themselves.
The structure and layout of your house is pretty interesting and unusual for German conditions. It is rather narrow, tall and deep. Floors also separate the rooms, instead of walls. Are there any major benefits compared to living on a classical single floor layout with walls separating each area?
No, there are only disadvantages. A quarter of the house is taken up with staircases. It’s a total waste. This is the townhouse model that in Berlin we don’t usually have but some planner decided that this area will be rebuilt using the townhouse model that we have in Hamburg, or Bremen, or London, or Amsterdam, but not really in Berlin. So, we got one of these spaces and built a house and it’s 6 and half meters wide and 13 deep, so it’s a double square, which is kind of nice. And there is a limit of 22 meters tall in Berlin. So we managed to squeeze 7 floors in, while you’re allowed to do 5 floors, so we did 2 floors under full height, so they don’t count as floors. We actually have 8 floors, if you include the cellar. So you come in on floor 1, or floor 0 as we say it in Germany; 1 and 2 are rented to an office, so it gives me some income; floor 3 is the printing press and the washing machines and the storage and stuff; floor 4 is my studio, where we are now; and floor 5 is the living room/kitchen. Floor 6 is the bedroom. There are 7 floors altogether plus the basement. It’s a little wasteful but it’s interesting to run up and down, and it’s nice to have the division, so you have different kinds of spaces but it’s still very unpractical but kind of romantic. It is essentially a box. A Schubladenschrank, this is what this is.
You were pretty hard on Otl Aicher’s Rotis. You called it a “Kopfgeburt” – something that is born from the head and is not useful in application. Yet you actually own a Bulthaup kitchen, and funnily enough Otl Aicher was integral in shaping the design during the 80s and 90s. In your opinion was Aicher a better kitchen designer than a type designer?
Yes. Because a kitchen has a maybe romantic appeal but it is very practical. You can define the way a drawer works, where everything is. People have sort of all the same height and the same processes when you cook. You cut stuff up first, and you throw away rubbish and then you need to boil water. That is pretty obvious. Whereas a typeface is a lot more emotional. It is significant that Aicher helped to design kitchens but not design cooking. Because cooking is like designing type. The result is always different. You give the same ingredients to different people, it’ll come out different. Even if you give them the same amount of ingredients, it’ll come out different because you can cook longer or shorter, you can cut onions thick or thin, the same happens for type. It’s always A to Z but it looks different and Aicher had so much theory behind his letters that they became very unemotional. It’s almost like you would design a lab instead of a kitchen. A kitchen has still to be a little messy and there are elements in that kitchen we did ourselves and the way it is arranged. We use the elements from Bulthaup but we arranged it ourselves. I think kitchen design and letter design can’t be compared which is the mistake that people like Aicher always made. They thought that it’s something you can totally and utterly plan. But you can’t plan the emotional aspect of a curve or of letters when they come together. Because a letter doesn’t exist on its own. A knife does, but not a letter.
Alongside printing, you played bass in bars when you were studying. Now that you have revived your printing passion, when will we get the chance to see you performing bass on stage?
No, it won’t be bass. It’ll be guitar. I have a couple of guitars and I intend to get back into guitar playing next year when I retire. My Martin is over there and I have all the good intentions into playing guitar – and I will.
You may have heard that our Web FontFonts are now supported by 98% of all desktop browsers. With a tantalising typographical treasure trove of 2240 Web FontFonts, it’s sometimes tricky to decide which web font is the best fit for your online brand presence. To provide a little inspiration and help you choose, we’ve brought together a selection of in-use cases of our top ten most popular web fonts that have caught our eye recently.
The marvellous FF Meta and FF Meta Serif, Erik Spiekermann’s No-Brainer, feature on this great site Parse by How. Parse is a real smörgåsbord of design content; they scour the web to bring together what they call design ‘tapas for the brain’.
One of our bestsellers and a real classic typeface, FF DIN, features on the Budget 4 Change website. The thin horizontal strokes and fluent curves of FF DIN provide a sober and solid tone to the site which is dedicated to mapping, tracking and analyzing donor government budgets against official development assistance.
Evolution, Revolution, Solution. That is the simple philosophy behind Typolution, the ‘purely’ typographical website that covers the latest developments, innovations and advancements in the industry (all in German). The site uses our very own FF Unit for the body text and FF Unit Slab for the headers, offering a cool yet disciplined tone.
The website for the VRB (Vorratsgesellschaft) organization based in Germany is set in one of the bestselling and most serious text faces, the formidable FF Scala and FF Scala Sans. The VRB offers ‘off the’ Shelf Companies and legal advice.
Two Arms Inc are a team of two, who combine illustration and design in a delightful manner. Based in Brooklyn they are famed for their passion for screenprinting. Their website employs FF Dagny, by Örjan Nordling and Göran Söderström. Great minds think alike, as we use it on our site too!
We’ve recently received some lovely examples of FontFonts in-use. Keep ’em coming! If you’ve used a FF in a recent project and you’d like to be featured on our site, please email [email protected].permalink
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:
‘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.
‘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.
‘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 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.permalink
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
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!
With Mozilla’s Firefox and Microsoft’s upcoming Internet Explorer 10, a significant step has been taken toward widespread OpenType feature support, which allows for things like discretionary ligatures in text and contextual alternates in display. Now with standards solidifying, a level of typographic sophistication previously unachievable anywhere will soon be realized. Ushering in the new browser, we share this demo page with live examples of OpenType features at work. (Note that unless viewed in IE10 or a recent version of Firefox or some other new-ish Mozilla browser, the demos won’t make much sense.)
Contextual Swashes | FF Nexus Serif Italic is the most comprehensive font of the FF Nexus Superfamily, containing beautiful sets of swash letters for the beginnings and ends of words. Thanks to the Contextual Swashes feature, the swash variants of the letters appear automatically in the appropriate positions (as opposed to the “regular” Swashes feature, in which you would have to decide yourself which letters should be swashed).
Stylistic Sets | FF Unit holds the library’s record for Stylistic Sets: It has a whopping 14 sets to tailor the look of selected letters to your needs. (39 OT Features in total!)
Contextual Alternates | FF Mister K isn’t available as a Web FontFont yet, and if you switch off the Contextual Alternates feature on the demo site you’ll see why: It just makes no sense to use it without the connections and letter variants that give FF Mister K its special look.
Small Caps | FF Ernestine is one of the few FontFonts containing two sets of small caps: Small and Petite Caps (the only other Petite Cap FontFont being FF Atma Serif). While Small Caps are available as separate Web FontFonts now, Petite Caps only become accessible through browser OpenType feature support.
Discretionary Ligatures | FF Milo Serif is one of the FontFonts that go wild with extravagant ligatures.
Oldstyle Figures and Ligatures | FF DIN Round and FF Tartine Script can actually look like this on your website right now! Unlike the other features shown above, Oldstyle Figures and Ligatures are included (if available in the design) in all WOFF Web FontFonts today. There’s one more feature we didn’t even mention on the demo page: The Kerning feature is activated for the whole demo page. It is most noticeable in combinations like “We” and “y.”, which just look more even with kerning. This feature is included in the current WOFF Web FontFonts and is applied automatically by some browsers.read more
BERLIN, GERMANY, October 2011 – FontShop International announced the latest additions to its award-winning FontFont® typeface library.
Redesign and new styles
FF Karbid: Revised & extended
FF Karbid Slab in use, Book design Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller ‘The Murder of Crows’ (Hatje Cantz, 2011)
Originally published in only three text weights and one display version in 1999, the original FF Karbid is an interpretation of vintage German storefront lettering from the early 1900s. Verena Gerlach collected and documented a lot of these alphabets in the Berlin quarters Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte. Although they have now almost completely disappeared due to the renovation works in the unified German capital, the spirit of those characteristic letters lives on in the concept of FF Karbid.
FF Karbid now offers a balanced range of five weights—from Light to Black—each with matching obliques. All versions of FF Karbid offer numerous alternate characters that alter their appearance and mood. These are based on the rather eccentric forms of Art Deco lettering—low- and high-waisted capitals; round versions of A, C, E; single-storey a & g, and many more. The fonts include numerous figure sets, arrows and bullets, and offer Latin Extended language support.
The new FF Karbid is a harmonized redesign of the original typeface. Rounder and less narrow letters lend the shapes more space and balance. Although the contrast was reduced to obtain a harmonious monolinear typeface (without losing its liveliness) it was increased in the bolder weights to improve legibility and achieve a certain elegance. FF Karbid Display is the most obvious spin-off of the original FF Karbid. More than merely having been assimilated, the letter forms were revised according to the new concept. The FF Karbid family has been augmented with two entirely new sub-families. The first one, the Text version, is intended for body copy in small sizes. The eccentric, serif-like swashes in select letters have been abandoned, while the friendly, lively forms of l, y, z and Z show the close relationship to the FF Karbid family. The other new sub-family is a Slab version. It has a sober, journalistic character, inspired by the typography in magazines of the 1920s (see Memphis, etc.). The strong serifs lend the typeface footing and an air of reliability. To improve legibility and balance the contrast was increased in comparison to the sans serif version.
Updated and extended FontFonts
Language extensions continue as well: FF Unit Pro speaks Cyrillic and Greek now.
FF Nexus Mix, FF Nexus Serif, FF Nexus Sans, FF Nexus Typewriter
Ten years after his iconic FF Scala, Martin Majoor expanded his idea of “two typefaces; one form principle” into “three typefaces; one form principle.” The result: a new family of typefaces. FF Nexus borrows some of its structure from FF Scala, but adds the slab-like FF Nexus Mix and monospaced FF Nexus Typewriter to the set. The four coordinated families form a powerhouse type system, combining elegance with versatility. Web and office versions are now available.
FF Signa Serif
FF Signa is a typically Danish typeface by Ole Søndergaard, rooted in architectural lettering rather than book typography. Concise letterforms and a minimum of detail produce clear and harmonious word images. Designed for the Danish Design Center, it is used there for printed material and exhibitions as well as the internal signage system. There are Condensed, Extended and Correspondence versions, and in 2005 FF Signa Serif joined the family. Now the web and office versions are also available for FF Signa Serif.
FF Unit was designed by Erik Spiekermann and produced by Christian Schwartz. FF Unit is the grown-up, no-nonsense sister of Spiekermann’s famous FF Meta. With FF Unit, puppy fat is off, some curves are gone and the shapes are tighter. While FF Meta has always been a little out-of-line and not exactly an over-engineered typeface, FF Unit is less outspoken and more disciplined. It is—like FF Meta—very suitable for use quite small and large, but FF Unit lacks some of the diagonal strokes and curves that give FF Meta its slight informality. However, FF Unit is not cold or uptight, just cool: no redundant ornamentation, just a lot of character. The tighter shapes make it suitable for big headlines set tight. Smaller sizes benefit from the increased contrast between vertical and horizontal strokes and open spacing. Thin and Light perform well set large, displaying the characters to their advantage. There is a great difference in weight between the Thin and Ultra, providing a good range of weights for contrasting combinations. Alternative characters (a, g, i, j, l, U, M) make for interesting headlines. The Small Caps are a bit larger than normal, making them suitable for abbreviations and acronyms. The many weights include old style, regular, and tabular figures. FF Unit Pro is now available with Cyrillic and Greek character sets. The entire FF Unit super family consists of FF Unit, FF Unit Slab, and FF Unit Rounded.permalink
Every now and then we are asked for typefaces containing alternative characters – the first letter of the alphabet is especially interesting in this respect as the Latin script knows two forms of the lower case a: the double-storey a is one of the most distinctive letters in a typeface while the single-storey a is rather neutral and decent. So you can considerably change the character of a typeface by simply swapping just one letter.
Thanks to OpenType both forms can be contained in one font and the user can easily switch between the two forms (in applications that support OT layout features, like Adobe’s Creative Suite for instance). Many of the innovative FontFonts offer this opportunity:
- FF Advert
- FF Basic Gothic
- FF Chambers Sans
- FF Dagny
- FF DIN Round
- FF Duper
- FF Jackie
- FF Karbid Slab
- FF Karbid Text
- FF Lance
- FF Nuvo
- FF Nuvo Mono
- FF Profile
- FF Schulbuch Nord
- FF Super Grotesk
- FF Unit
- FF Unit Rounded
- FF Unit Slab
- FF Utility
- FF Zwo
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.
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 — 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 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.read more
BERLIN, GERMANY, July 2009 - FSI FontShop International announced the latest additions to its award-winning FontFont® typeface library.
The new FontFonts
FF Dagny™ — In 2002, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) changed from broadsheet to tabloid – a change that came along with a major impact on DN’s journalism, editing and design. Pangea design’s Creative Director, Örjan Nordling, had already worked with DN as a design consultant in 1996. In 2000, DN had been redesigned under the leadership of Dr. Mario Garcia. For the new design Nordling had created DN Bodoni exclusively for Dagens Nyheter. The change to tabloid called for a more compact setting and Pangea design was commissioned to produce a matching sans serif for Sweden’s largest daily newspaper. This became DN Grotesk which now has evolved into FF Dagny.
For the FontFont library Nordling and Göran Söderström made several adjustments, the contrast in stroke thickness was reduced for better legibility in small sizes and characters were redesigned together with the FontFont Type Department. The family now includes a range of consistent weights from Thin to Black making it perfect for use in body text and all kind of other applications. The name Dagny is an abbreviation of Dagens Nyheter as well as an old nordic female name meaning “new day”.
FF Duper™ — Martin Wenzel’s original idea from 1998 evolved into a kind of informal FF Profile in the end. The new FF Duper has a home-made touch, but provides of course all typographic qualities of a contemporary OpenType font. FF Duper consists of Regular, Bold, Regular Italic and Bold Italic weights, supports more than 60 languages, has several figure sets and fractions and includes alternative forms for a, g and y as well as a set of arrows, bullets and ornaments. And there is a special extra: All weights contain three versions of each glyph and via an OpenType feature the three alternatives are used in succession, treating vowels and consonents separately and recognizing even spaces between words for a lively and hand-made appearance of the typed text. Preliminary versions of the typeface have already been successful in education and school projects, but there are surely more areas where FF Duper perfectly fits in.
FF Kava™ started out as a free typeface called Kaffeesatz, published by Yanone in 2004 during the early stages of his type designing career. The bold weight was reminiscent of coffeehouse grotesk typefaces of the 1920s, while the lighter versions were supposed to bridge the gap to contemporary type design.
The current FF Kava family is a carefully revised, more rounded version of the old Kaffeesatz fonts. A black weight has been added as well as small caps and more figure sets to form now an attractive modern and soft sans serif type family.
FF Unit® Slab: When Kris Sowersby, Christian Schwartz and Erik Spiekermann were designing the parameters for FF Meta Serif, they spent quite some time on details like the thickness and the shape of the serifs – should the face veer towards a slab with blocky, heavy serifs or should it be more of a traditional book face? In the end, they went for a “normal” serif face with fairly solid serifs, but some thick-thin contrast and counters that aren’t totally parallel to the outside shape of the letters. Stronger and thus more useful than Times New Roman while not as constructed as Rockwell.read more
These are the latest additions (release 44) to the FontFont library:
The latest batch of FontFonts includes three new designs: FF Polymorph™, an exploration of global forms in the foundry’s experimental tradition; FF Unit™ Rounded, in which our founder reveals the softer side of his “strict sans”; and FF Utility™, a hard-working sans serif for text and information design. Also new is an OpenType® version of FF Celeste® Sans and numerous character set extensions to FontFont favorites for multilingual typography. Scroll on!