News: Tagged as OpenType FontFont

“Hard and fast categorization is anathema to creative typography”

We caught up recently with Nick Shinn, type design expert, founder of ShinnType and creator of FF Fontesque, FF Merlin and FF Oneleigh on pushing the possibilities of type design and unlocking the delights of OpenType. 

Nick Shinn
Nick Shinn, April 2012 (Photo by David Sudweeks)

You’re known for developing fonts that push the possibilities of the OpenType layout features to their limits. Do technical possibilities inspire you to create new typefaces?

Absolutely! The Contextual Alternates feature in particular. The idea that character forms can respond to text is a genuinely new idea—“smart fonts”. And the degree and manner in which glyph forms may interact with one another is way beyond traditional ligatures. In ten years, we’ve only scratched the surface.

During the revision of FF Fontesque, you conceived a very sophisticated contextual feature. Would you agree that it is no longer possible to design typefaces with handwritten-character without implementing some sort of random effect?

FF Fontesque
FF Fontesque’s contextual alternates make for a better handwritten character.

That’s a question which gets to the heart of type design and its relationship to mark-making technology, be it pen, printing or pixels. It seems to me that there are three design spaces involved—for the writer, for the font designer, and for the typographer. And there is interplay between these.

For the typographer the distinction between pseudo and faux is crucial. One can choose an OpenType font which imitates writing through a pseudo-random Contextual Alternates effect, for a convincing naturalism—or one can exploit the faux quality of a basic script font as a signifier. In that case the font would be set against the grain of naturalism, with typographic regularity (flush left, on evenly spaced, dead straight baselines), and with no concern that doubled characters have identical glyphs. So for a brand of organic food, the packaging would not need to “really” look like it was hand-written, because there is a point at which that has negative connotations; nonetheless, typographic use of a basic, amateur-looking handwriting font would signify the brand’s market position, used in the manner of any other one-glyph-per-character typeface, a manner that graphic designers are very comfortable with. I think one should be aware of both approaches, and choose where to position one’s work on the axis of mimicry accordingly.

For the writer who is a polished scribe, if one ignores flourishes, the genre of formal calligraphy may often aspire to a strict regularity. So even within the world of natural media, there is spectrum of possibilites between icy perfection and haphazard extemporization, and this distinction provides creative tension and design space—aided and abetted by happy accidents—in which the calligrapher operates, deciding whether to disguise artifice or put it on show like hammer marks on Arts and Crafts pewter.

As a type designer, I have to admire how a type such as Mistral distills dramatic gestural style into a minimal alphabet where every glyph combines perfectly with every other glyph. But what interests me now is of course contextuality, with multiple glyphs for each character, and my intention is to invent new ways of integrating it into type design. I’m designing fonts that are novel tools; the challenge is for typographers to find ways to leverage that newness in their work, ways that I can’t anticipate.

In Duffy (2008), your random code cycled between four alternates of every character. In the more recent FF Fontesque OT, there are only two versions of each. What made you decide that was enough?

I reasoned that enough letters could be put between repeating characters, that two glyphs of each would suffice to produce the pseudo-random effect. It helps that there are no words in which any characters are tripled (except for a very few in German). Then I devised coding to switch glyphs to avoid any repetition with fewer than three letters between the same character repeating. That amount of separation is beyond a single saccadic impression in the macula (centre of the fovea), which registers no more than three or four letters, so glyph-repetition irregularities cannot be physically perceived during immersive reading—because that’s below the threshold of what the brain registers in text decoding.

FF Fontesque
Some of FF Fontesque’s alternate characters

But why bother with randomness if the eye can only see a maximum of four letters sharply at a time—wouldn’t it be enough just to deal with doubled letters? Well, I don’t believe that one only “reads” the text encoded in letters—I think one is aware of pattern and texture, in the way that one may identify a piece of music from its timbre (even from a single chord, such as George Harrison’s opening strum in A Hard Day’s Night), with no melody or tempo. And in display work, of course, repetition is far more likely to be noticed. Also, one doesn’t just design a document for its immediate users, it also has professional-grade meaning for the design trade, where it may be examined minutely for non-textual plastic qualities. Ultimately, it exists on its own terms as a cultural artefact with an infinity of possible meanings.

One of the original ideas for FF Oneleigh’s Italics was to design letters like T, V, W and Y so that kerning would be almost unnecessary. While you made the Pro update, what was it that convinced you to switch to more “normal” forms, and to offer the originals as Swashes?

I love this face so much, I wanted to shower it with features. Small caps and all kinds of alternate figures, of course, discretionary ligatures, even. Then, as several swash capitals already existed in the face, a full Swash feature [see following images] was a no-brainer—and it didn’t hurt that they were fun to draw! It also gave me the opportunity to further explore a theme I happened upon several years ago, when designing a book title in Bernhard Tango and realizing that face set quite nicely in all caps.

FF Oneleigh
FF Oneleigh
FF Oneleigh

Now, with the Swash feature in layout applications, if it’s applied to any particular character, I don’t want the typographer to think something’s wrong with the font if nothing happens. So there’s a swash alternate for EVERY capital letter of the alphabet. However, the original idea, that a handful of italic capitals could be swash as default (as in Baskerville and some of Goudy’s faces) has not been abandoned—it’s available as a Stylistic Set.

New ideas and concepts, drawing, digitizing, font programming, marketing… do typeface designers today have to be jacks of all trades?

Not necessarily. I’m a generalist anyway, with a varied career before becoming a type designer, fortunate enough to get into it in the early days of digital, and the learning curve over 20 years has thus been fairly manageable. So being jack works for me. But the industry has evolved with more specialization, to meet the demands of increasing complexity, and I do find myself working more collaboratively now.

On top of your design work, you’re very active in online forums like Typophile. How do you manage your time? Is it difficult to keep up with the technological changes in font production?

I’m afraid I don’t manage my time, and my studio is very messy. I just work on what I feel like at any given moment—apart from commissions of course, which do tend to focus one’s mind. I keep up to date with the latest technology, in the sense that I’m fairly aware of what’s happening, by online surfing and going to conferences—but I pick and choose what I incorporate into my workflow. No doubt I could be more efficient, but I try to strike a balance between hands-on artist and production-line technocrat.

You are primarily self-taught as a type designer. You have your own foundry, and you make commissioned typeface, too. You retail typefaces through several distributors. Why are FF Fontesque, FF Merlin, and FF Oneleigh FontFonts?

Historical contingency: before the World Wide Web, it took a full-time commitment to run a foundry profitably. Marketing floppy discs though direct mail was expensive and time consuming. But afterwards, one could establish a presence with a web site, sell through e-commerce distributors, and build up one’s catalog incrementally while keeping one’s day job—and make a higher percentage royalty to boot.

In 1993, when I first started making digital fonts, FontShop had a bricks-and-mortar retail franchise in Toronto, and I had known its proprietors, David Michaelides and Tina Hadjidimetriou, since they started out—selling graphic design books, actually. As an art director, I frequently licensed fonts from them. David realized that the FontFont range was Eurocentric, and while up-to-date in the deconstruction department, could do with some representation of the North American Grunge phenomenon. So he persuaded a number of Canadian designers to submit loosely-drawn types to FontFont’s TypeBoard. As an already published type designer (Gryphon and Shinn Sans), I was a likely suspect, and submitted Fontesque. Not really grunge, but casual enough to ride on its coat-tails. Since then, it’s been a breeze working with the people at FontShop International (they also distribute Shinntype through FontShop), and I was quite thrilled when they completely commited to all the OpenType upgrades to FF Oneleigh and FF Fontesque which I proposed, and then some—it was a deal of work for all concerned.

What is the story behind FF Merlin? At first glance, it looks like another 1990s grunge typeface. But a second glance reveals typographic sophistication. The Italic uses “true Italic” letters, and all three of the fonts show understanding of letterform construction – no surprise, since they came from you, but still unusual for this style of fonts.

I’ve had a long working relationship with newspaper designer Tony Sutton; he’s a bit of a fontaholic, always pestering me for new fonts, bless him—so I thought it would be amusing to design something he’d have a hard time using. Hence Merlin. There are some other ideas in it too—it’s the evil anti-Fontesque, and has fractal serifs (serifs on serifs on serifs).

FF Merlin

FF Merlin

How does the process of working on your FontFont families differ from your other typefaces?

Other than the fact that I’m not designing any new FontFonts, not much; I’ve been upgrading earlier designs to OpenType and Webfonts, both Shinntype fonts and FontFonts. In both cases, I’ve had some production assistance.

Do you ever miss Art Direction?

Yes. There is some compensation in producing type specimens, though. And I do collaborate with my wife Karey, doing the graphic identities for her art projects.

FF Fontesque’s Cyrillic characters came out especially vivid, especially in the Italics. Did you need to do a lot of research into those forms? Did you have something like a Cyrillic “supervisor?”

No, I’m not interested in other people’s opinions of what my glyphs should look like. I was already familiar with Cyrillic typography, having studied it during the development of the Modern Suite, and I knew what the Cyrillic characters looked like in different type styles. So I was able to shape them according to the same principles I had applied in the original Latin of FF Fontesque.

FF Fontesque

FF Fontesque includes Cyrillic glyphs, and in your own library, Figgins Sans and Scotch Modern include both Cyrillic and Greek. Do you have plans for any more Greek typefaces? Might Greek extensions appear in later revisions to your FontFonts?

That’s for FontFont to decide; I’m game if they are. There’s not much of a market for Greek fonts per se: it’s a country of less than 10 million, and the academic Classics community is flooded with free fonts, and too conservative even for FF Oneleigh. But there is a market for “Pan European” fonts that service corporations operating in the European Union—which includes both Bulgaria (Cyrillic) and Greece. I’m presently working on the release of Richler, which will have Greek and Cyrillic support.

Your FF Fontesque and FF Oneleigh Pro revisions were among the first FontFonts to include capital Eszett glyphs. This is still a relatively new character in the type scene, and its validity is questioned by some type designers and typographers. How do you feel about it, and how did you decide upon the specific forms for the letter?

In terms of validity, it’s a legitimate Unicode character—and, as almost virgin territory (if such a thing is possible), a fascinating design challenge. When the Unicode status was first announced in 2007, a thread developed at Typophile in which the whole issue of grammar and design was discussed. There are two basic forms the character can take, depending on whether the right side is treated more like an S or a 3. In both FF Fontesque and FF Oneleigh, I’ve opted for the S, which I think is more appropriate for types informed by the classic serif tradition. However I’ve used both approaches elsewhere, having employed the character in eleven typefaces up to now. It’s a question of getting a feel for it, and how it can be designed to best harmonize with a particular face.

FF Oneleigh
German capital sharp s in FF Oneleigh

About FF Fontesque Text, you’ve written, “I've seen Fontesque used over the past few years, that in many instances people would prefer a little more heft.” I’d like to hear more about how FF Fontesque Text and FF Fontesque Display diverge from the original FF Fontesque design, especially since FF Fontesque is one of those types where my knee-jerk classification would be a “display” face!

Yes, it’s a display face, but as we all know, hard and fast categorization is anathema to creative typography. What Display signifies here is optical scaling for use at very large sizes, with the glyphs having fine details. I imagine it being used in an understated manner for posters, signage, magazine headlines or book titles, as a script might be used, with a very organic presence.

FF Fontesque Sans does not have optical sizes. Do you think that optical sizes are less necessary, generally, when it comes to sans serif designs?

FF Fontesque Sans

As far as I know, there are only two sans faces with optical sizes—the new Haas Helvetica, and my Brown Gothic. Generally speaking, changing the tracking is all one needs to do to optically scale a sans. I would say that FF Fontesque Sans, with its tight fit, is more of a display face, and recommend adding tracking, and dare it be said, a touch of horizontal scaling, for body text setting!

Of the articles that I’ve read from you, your research into the 1830s British inspiration behind continental typefaces like Akzidenz-Grotesk and Helvetica is my favourite. Are you particularly inspired by the history of British design, or is there another country whose tradition interests you to a higher degree?

I’m not interested in national cultures per se. A face like FF Oneleigh, which is speculative fiction informed by the historicist movement of the early twentieth century—which was international—draws its influences from designers in the USA (Goudy, Cooper), Germany (Schneidler, Koch, Bernhard), Holland (de Roos) and so on.  

FF Oneleigh
How do you think your work fits in to the larger story of contemporary Canadian graphic design?

Outside the type industry subculture, type designers are rarely recognized for their œuvre as a whole, but individual typefaces do make it into graphic design history. I’d say there are three of mine that might have relevance in a specifically Canadian context:

FF Fontesque pairs with Val Fullard’s FF Mambo as the happy face(s) of the Grunge craze of the mid 1990s. They were huge in Canada, and internationally.

The Richler commemorative type is worthy of mention, due to Mordecai Richler’s ongoing celebrity as a Great Canadian Writer.

And perhaps too my custom types for The Globe and Mail (“Canada’s National Newspaper”), given that the paper is such an institution, and an anomaly, both in terms of design (oldstyle types, modernist layout with no justification) and performance—increasing its readership when the newspaper industry in general is declining. Its 2010 redesign was voted best in the world in the 32nd Society of News Design awards.

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Pictures, award winners and the delights of OpenType

In our quest to make our website as functional and easy to use as possible, we have added three brand new features.

In-use gallery

First up, is our gallery of FontFonts in-use. Now when you browse through our typefaces, you can browse a picture of each font in-use. Just click on the ‘camera’ icon on the browse page and the pictures of our type in-use examples will be displayed.

In Use Gallery

You can also view an in-use gallery of each indivdiual FontFont family. So whether you’re searching for all in-use pictures of the FF Unit family, looking for an example of what FF Meta looks like when used on the Mozilla website, trying to find out what FF Fontesque looks like on a bookcover, or if you’re simply after another way of browsing through our library, our in-use gallery offers you a real visual treat.

Discover the delights of OpenType

Through the advanced typographical control of the OpenType format you can bring your text to life with fantastic features such as small caps, tabular figures, swashes and oldstyle figures. Yet it’s often said that the true features and fantastic functions of OpenType can be hidden away, often undiscovered. We hope to change that with our second new feature which helps you to see how the OpenType layout features, that are included in each FontFont, appear. For example, when you click on the OpenType features of FF Scala Regular you can now see all the different features that the font contains and how they will appear in FF Scala. FF Scala

Want to find out more about OpenType and its layout features? Check out our OpenType User Guide (247KB).

Award-winning FontFonts

Our FontFont Library is home to numerous award-winning typeface designs and now you can easily see which of our FontFonts have won prizes. Just look out for the little trophy icon next to the font on the browse page. You can also read all about the typefaces which have been awarded accolades and prizes on our news section under Awards

Award-winning FontFonts

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Swashin’ around with FF Nexus

When Martin Majoor designed FF Scala and FF Scala Sans between 1988 and 1994, the idea behind this was to design a serif, humanistic typeface from which a sans serif version would be derived. Martin called it: Two typefaces, one form principle. Ten years later, he expanded his idea of two typefaces, one form principle into four typefaces, one form principle, creating a new superfamily as a result. FF Nexus, today one of the most popular typefaces in the FontFont Library, borrows some of its structure from FF Scala, but adds the slab-like FF Nexus Mix and the monospaced FF Nexus Typewriter to the set.

FF Nexus and FF Scala

And as if FF Nexus itself wasn’t amazing enough, designer Martin Majoor made one of the styles stand out even more; FF Nexus Serif Italic comes with two additional swash alphabets:

Recently, while working on the Web FontFonts of FF Nexus, we decided to revisit the OpenType features of the OT versions as well. So our Type Department worked closely with Martin Majoor to achieve the optimum result from the revision.

“The happiest period in my type design life was when I worked on FF Nexus Serif Italic Swash. I found out that it is impossible to create one ideal series of swash capitals, so I decided to make two.”

“Even though my first typeface, FF Scala, is still more popular, FF Nexus is, in my opinion, the best typeface I have created so far. With FF Nexus Mix, I introduced a third family member in my type design philosophy, and I am happy that this slab version is not a stand-alone typeface; it feels best when accompanied by serif and sans.” says Martin Majoor.

A combination of the OpenType features Discretionary Ligatures and Contextual Swashes

FF Nexus Serif Italic: A combination of the OpenType features Discretionary Ligatures and Contextual Swashes.

It was a great challenge to translate Martin’s ideas into a well-performing OpenType font, but no matter if you prefer activating features or choosing from the glyph palette, in the end you'll see that we achieved maximum flexibility. This screencast shows you how it works:

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The a|ɑ-Team

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.

a-Alternatives

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:

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New release: FF54

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

The new FontFonts

FF Basic Gothic

FF Basic Gothic — Due to its popularity online, Verdana has effectively become the basic sans serif. Yet in print it tends to looks too heavy and a little unwieldy. As a response to this FontFont releases FF Basic Gothic. Influenced by the early sans serif typefaces of the 19th century and developed for today’s highest standards, it is a sans serif optimized for maximum legibility. With its functional, basic look, it is willful but pleasant at the same time. Inspired by the unique letter forms of Gill Sans and Antique Olive, designers Hannes von Döhren and Livius Dietzel searched for exceptional yet legible proportions. At the same time, the letters are stripped down to their basic forms, with precise curves and straight lines, making FF Basic Gothic extremely versatile for a multitude of applications.

Their extended weight range makes it interesting for corporate designers; TYPO Berlin 2011 already trusts on FF Basic Gothic (as well as on FF Scala). The type family performs especially well in small sizes, both in print and on the screen – thanks to the hinting experts of the FontFont Type Department.

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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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New release: FF50

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

The new FontFonts

FF Mach

FF Mach The very first sketches of FF Mach were drawn in 2004 when a colleague who planned a new Polish magazine about culture and arts asked Łukasz Dziedzic for a logo – there was neither time nor money, so he did it quickly and for free. The logo was met with approval and Łukasz was asked for some sample covers and a few days later for the whole layout – again immediately and free of charge. Łukasz agreed with mixed feelings, thinking this might be a chance to use some of his fonts and even make a new one based on the logo and title graphics. The new font worked well but unfortunately, after the magazine failed three months later, it was never used again until Łukasz decided in 2008 to redraw all the glyphs in order to remove the traces of that speedy work, and in the end he designed a complete new type family with six weights and three widths.

FF Masala
FF Masala

FF Masala is as unctuous as a curry sauce with a hint of chili to add zest. Xavier Dupré’s initial idea for FF Masala was to offer a casual Sans matching FF Tartine Script. After rethinking and refining, FF Masala became a truly casual type system with three Sans weights and their Italics plus three powerful Script versions with swashes, right for logos and packaging as well as comics or children’s book covers.

FF DIN Italic

FF DIN® Condensed Italic — The FF DIN family has been completed by FF DIN Condensed Italic including Latin Extended and Cyrillic Extended characters.

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New release: FF49

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

The new FontFonts

FF Dagny Pro

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 Pro

FF DuperMartin 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 Pro

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 Pro 1

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.

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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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New release: FF44

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!

FontFont Release 44

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