News: Tagged as Johannes Erler

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.


Goodbye 70s: Free Erler Dingbats Unicode font released

The first Dingbats collection all writers and social media typists waited for is finally introduced, with contemporary symbols that follow a common graphical language: Erler Dingbats. The best of all, it’s free.

Erler Dingbats  is a complete, contemporary quality font that covers the full encoding range for dingbats (U+2700—U+27BF) for the first time in the entire history of standard Unicode.

Erler Dingbats vs Standard Dingbats
Outdated and often mismatched symbols in the standard dingbats font (blue) compared to their up-to-date contemporary and style-consistent versions in Erler Dingbats (red).

To help support and encourage the use of the unicode standard, publisher FontShop International is giving away the Erler Dingbats completely free of charge. Erler Dingbats were created for everyday communication purposes, including a wide range of popular symbols and pictograms such as arrows, pens, phones, stars, crosses and checkmarks, plus 3 sets of cameo figures on round backgrounds. Unlike other dingbats fonts which often contain a ragtag bunch of symbols in mismatched styles, the Erler Dingbats harmonize elegantly because the drawings all adhere to a common visual language which makes them the perfect choice as the new standard for communication symbols.

Erler Dingbats is a spin-off of the distinguished FF Dingbats 2.0 family, and was designed as a special collaboration between designers Johannes Erler and Henning Skibbe. “For years I’ve been bored by the ubiquitous OS-Dingbats fonts and so I decided to design my own, based on my FF Dingbats. I’ve been using a beta version for several months and all my friends want them, too. So, I had the idea to give them away for free”, says Johannes Erler.

As more and more social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) are rapidly surging towards the use of Unicode, now is exactly the right time to provide this elegant, versatile set of modern communication symbols for use in tweets and status messages. FontShop International invites not only private users, but also OS developers, to include the Erler Dingbats in their font collection.

Erler Dingbats can be viewed and downloaded on


New release: FF48

BERLIN, GERMANY, April 2009 — FSI FontShop International announced the latest additions to its award-winning FontFont® typeface library.

The new FontFonts

FF Dingbats 2.0 OT — The original FF Dingbats font package was designed in 1993 when there was no other symbol font available except Zapf Dingbats. The FF Dingbats package was the first with some 800 symbols and icons from the world of modern communication: faxes, ISDN, disks, keyboards … all absolutely usable. But over the following years times have been changing and quite a lot of pictograms for office communication are no longer needed – no-one uses floppy disks nowadays – or simply changed their appearance, so Johannes Erler and Henning Skibbe started a complete redesign two years ago.

FF Dingbats 2.0 OT

All pictograms have now been revised and adjusted according to the current stylistic vocabulary. Arrow and number fonts have been reworked and extended as well. All symbols have been sorted into clear categories, and the font “Strong Forms” includes the most needed symbols in a bolder version. Besides this, many symbols can be layered and coloured via an easy-to-use layering feature (see FF Dingbats 2.0 info guide PDF). All this makes FF Dingbats 2.0 a state-of-the-art font package again and probably the largest collection of contemporary symbols and icons for office communication.

FF Milo® was started in 2000 with the goal of a compact typeface with very low ascenders and descenders. Because of its compact design FF Milo is a workhorse typeface suitable for magazine and newspaper typography. It has modern bones with a touch of detail for distinction (especially in the italics). The name Milo is from a resilient grain and that's why the designer chose this name for the typeface. He wanted it to be a basic usable font like corn or grain is to any culture.

FF Milo Serif OT

With the help of Paul van der Laan for kerning, spacing and production, Michael Abbink developed FF Milo Serif as a companion to the Sans, but it is also perfectly suitable as a stand alone typeface or used together with any other sans serif typeface. Like FF Milo, FF Milo Serif is a text face with the utmost legibility, perfect for setting newspapers and magazine copy. Although rooted with historical attributes it is truly a contemporary face. FF Milo Serif comes with SC, TF, OSF, LF as well as a wealth of ligatures. Like the Sans, FF Milo Serif is also a resilient grain!

FF Seria Arabic

FF Seria® Arabic, originally called Sada, by designer Pascal Zoghbi, is an Arabic type companion to FF Seria, designed in the nineties by Martin Majoor. The Arabic type family was part of the Typographic Matchmaking 01 project organised by the Khatt Foundation. Echo, which means “Sada” in Arabic, is the repetition of a sound caused by the reflection of sound waves from a surface. Accordingly, Sada/Seria Arabic is the echo of FF Seria. FF Seria Arabic is a young crispy type based on the Arabic Nasekh style. The Regular and Bold are text typefaces, the Light is both display and text type, while the Black is purely a display typeface.

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