News: Tagged as Typography
For the past few months, we’ve brought together our favorite FontFonts from our Collection Tier and top tips for a particular intended use. With only a few days to go until we head off on our festive break, we couldn’t help but tackle the typographical heights of FontFonts suitable for festive occasions. So grab a mulled wine and a mince pie and feast your eyes on these festive fancies.
Showings and images by Angelo Stitz,
except FF Elegie: Image by Tobias Titz/fStop (1009056)
Holidays and celebrations have a steady stock of traits to fall back on. These give you excellent opportunities to explore new script fonts, fat faces, or Old English types. Really, anything that looks traditional is likely to be a nice fit. You can also run wild with pastiche or kitsch – letters that look like they are made of candy canes, leaves, ribbons or snowflakes are fair game.
Type for festive occasions often takes the form of text to be looked at, rather than actually read. Don’t go the safe route and pick a face that looks too much like something for a book. Go ahead and let your type call attention to itself; there is no need to be too text-y.
Most important of all, be sure to pick something that feels cheerful; nothing brings down an invitation like a typeface that is too dreary or formal. Your fonts won’t be the only element of an upbeat design, either. Color will surely play a role, as will illustration or other imagery. Fonts with holiday ornaments can help in a pinch, too.
Catch up on our previous intended use posts:
- Best Collection Tier FontFonts for music and nightlife
- Best Collection Tier FontFonts for sports
- Best Collection Tier FontFonts for book text
- Best Collection Tier FontFonts for logo, branding and corporate identity
- Best Collection Tier FontFonts for advertising and packaging
The Endeavour Hills Shopping Centre – located outside Melbourne, Australia – implements Mike Abbink’s FF Kievit typeface family into its wayfinding and environmental graphics. Hofstede Design began work on the project in late 2006. A symbol incorporating two interlocking ‘E’s forms the central element in their flexible and wide-ranging brand identity program. We caught up with the studio to ask them a couple of questions about the project.
How did you find working with the typefaces?
The brief was to develop an identity and signage system for a shopping centre on the outskirts of Melbourne. We were commissioned by the design manager who oversaw all aspects of the centre’s redevelopment. We chose FF Kievit because we needed a versatile typeface which could work both in printed material, and also on the signage component. FF Kievit has an ‘approachable’ feel, and we felt it provided just the right mix of legibility and individuality. I think there are some default choices for signage (e.g., Frutiger, Helvetica, etc), and we wanted to do something a little different as well.
On your website, you mention that you are first and foremost graphic designers. Indeed, your portfolio reflects a very considered and real approach to design. What drives your head and hand to keep your originality and inspiration flowing?
I have been working for over twenty years now. Finding inspiration and originality gets harder and harder. As a studio, we strive for individual solutions for our clients, but the reality is that nothing is truly original. We do our best.
FF Kievit is a warm, open sans serif typeface, designed by Mike Abbink and extended by Paul van der Laan. The initial work on the typeface began in 1995. After years of development, the family was first released in 2001. The letters’ proportions make the typeface ideal for use in signage systems. Like many classic faces in this category, designers have found over the years that these forms let in enough light to allow the typeface to work in small print sizes, too.
Some aspects of the Endeavour Hills Shopping Centre design system are set in another FontFont typeface with a signage pedigree of its own: FF Info. In the image above, the pictograms and the arrows come from the family’s symbol fonts FF Info Pict. These were originally designed for use in the airport at Düsseldorf, Germany.
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
Fans of e-bikes are a growing and devoted group. A publication aimed at these readers presents an opportunity to implement a typeface with a unique voice. When ElektroBIKE – a new German magazine – launched in 2011, it choose FF Milo and FF Milo Serif for its audience.
The magazine’s art directors haven’t fallen back on stock trends with their typography (like ‘sans for headlines, serif for text’). While most of the body text of the magazine’s articles are set in FF Milo Serif, the sans serif FF Milo family is used for much of the additional editorial information. Many of the magazine’s headlines – including most of the very large ones – are also seriffed. Both of the FF Milo families are really more like cousins than separate designs. They are both text faces, too, especially the FF Milo Regular and FF Milo Serif Regular fonts.
Since ElektroBIKE keeps its headlines ‘in the family’, their pages rely on the full range of FF Milo and FF Milo Serif fonts. Including 30 weights in all, these two families make use of true italics, instead of obliques. FF Milo Serif Extra Bold Italic and Black Italic are both used in particular to set many of the magazine’s more dynamic headlines. When these heavier fonts are used, the high contrast between the letters’ thick and thin strokes creates a great effect.
Just like most text faces in the FontFont library, FF Milo and FF Milo Serif include numerous figure styles. In the article pictured above, FF Milo’s oldstyle figures are used not just to add structure a list, but to give it visual power, too.
Almost all of ElektroBIKE magazine relies on FF Milo and FF Milo Serif. Flipping through the magazine, you only consciously notice other typefaces when stumbling across advertisement pages. The magazine’s nameplate is in a different typeface: Monotype's Neo Tech. This choice sets it apart from the text and headlines, and perhaps was made because of the technical – or electronic – nature of the subject matter.
We were pleased to see how ElektroBIKE implemented FF Milo Serif’s typographic features, too. The typefaces include several discretionary ligatures that may be accessed through OpenType. In the images above, you can see c-k and s-t ligatures in the ‘Packliste’ headline (packing list, in German), as well as a t-i ligature in ‘Südtirol’ (South Tyrol). None of these ligatures are linguistic or typographic requirements, but art directors know what sort of accent they can lend to large text.
The award-winning FF Milo and FF Milo Serif typefaces were designed by Mike Abbink and Paul van der Laan. The FF Milo family includes nine weights, ranging from Thin to Black, while FF Milo Serif is available in six weights, from Regular to Black.permalink
Whether we’re on the lookout for typographical talent, on the hunt for international type trends or simply after a bit of bedtime reading; here’s a roundup of the type blogs that we like to read in the FontFont office. You can also check out our must read blogs and type links, which are listed on the right hand side.read more
We are pleased to announce that FontFont is one of the ‘Bridge’ sponsors of the inaugural TYPO San Francisco conference Connect, which will take place at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on April 5–6, 2012. With it, FontFont supports the arrival of one of Europe’s most important graphic design events to America. Not only does the promising speakers list include well-known names like Neville Brody, Jessica Hische, Tina Roth Eisenberg, Michael B. Johnson, Oliver Reichenstein, Khoi Vinh, Michael Bierut, Jim Parkinson, and Mike Monteiro, but also local heroes and newcomers that should not be missed. The complete schedule as well as other information can be found on TYPOSF.com.read more
FontShop International is happy to announce that we are sponsoring a couple of important type events that will take place in Munich in two weeks time.
Typotag 2011 will be held on November 18th, focusing on two different themes: “Typolyglott & Multitask” and “Picture and Character”.
Carolina de Bartolo’s and Erik Spiekermann’s visual textbook ‘Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting’ became quite successful right after its release in summer 2011 (see review on Typographica). We have ordered a few that we would like to give away with a little lottery drawing. All you need to do is send us one or more examples from the projects where you have used FontFonts. Five participants who win the lottery will get a free copy. The in-use examples can be sent as PDFs or images with a minimum size of 1000x200 pixels to firstname.lastname@example.org until November 28, 2011.read more
FontShop International is a proud sponsor of TYPO London 2011 that will take place from 20-22 October in Logan and Jeffery Halls at the University of London.
TYPO, Europe’s most successful annual three-day design conference, comes to London this year. An A-list of influential speakers from the world of typography; information, graphic and digital design; brand experience; film; animation; publishing and education are confirmed for this inaugural edition. The theme for TYPO’s London debut is “Places”.read more
As always, Europe’s biggest design conference was awaited with much eager anticipation. As always, it was a tremendous success. And, as always, the visual style of the conference was carefully scrutinized by the critical eyes of the attending designers.
Traditionally, the conference’s theme motto changes every year and is interpreted by Berlin design agency studio adhoc. This year’s motif was “Shift”. To express this concept, Magnus Hengge and his team fittingly chose FF Scala, a FontFont classic, and paired it up with FF Basic Gothic, a brand new FontFont. While FF Scala has proven its flexibility and versatility for the last 20 years, FF Basic Gothic has yet to be put to the test at all. So it was all the more delightful that they both met the challenge head-on and mastered it with flying colors.read more