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The second Long Night of the Design Studios by Create Berlin takes place on Thursday, 6 June and we are delighted to be taking part with our office friends at FontShop Germany! Come along to Bergmannstraße 102 in Kreuzberg, Berlin (2nd Entrance, 3rd floor) from 19.00 – 23.00 to have a peek behind the scenes and hear about what we do.
Andreas Frohloff, the Head of our Type Department will be running an open calligraphy workshop from 19.30 until 22.00 (8 spaces available in rotation), you will also get the chance to hear from Christoph Koeberlin, one of our Font Technicians, about the production of a font and maybe pick up a FontFont treat or two.permalink
This month’s round up of our favourite sites featuring Web FontFonts including Travis Kochel’s groundbreaking FF Chartwell, Mike Abbink’s bestselling FF Kievit and Max Phillips’s elegant FF Spinoza.
Kerem Suer is a designer of digital products based in San Francisco and his portfolio subtly features Travis Kochel’s innovative chart-making font, FF Chartwell. Kerem uses FF Chartwell Lines Web on the contact page of his website.
The St. Gallen Symposium takes place annually in May in Switzerland and is a gathering of leaders organized by students from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. A number of weights of Mike Abbink’s FF Kievit Web appear in the headlines and titles of the site, including FF Kievit Light and FF Kievit Medium.
The Pitchfork Guide to Summer Festivals 2013 features Max Phillips’s FF Spinoza throughout the body copy and GT Pressura from Grilli Type in the headlines. Pitchfork is an online guide to independent music.permalink
Introducing FF Dora, a brand new design from one of the youngest and the newest FontFont designers to join the library, FF Signa Slab a delightful edition to the comprehensively developed FF Signa Superfamily and FF Scala Jewel Pro, the language extension of the decorative version to the bestselling FF Scala – this is FF 62, our newest release.
FF Dora was originally drawn as a graduation project at the Type and Media masters course at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, and was designed by editorial and book designer Slávka Pauliková. It is a headstrong type family consisting of five styles: Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic, and Display. FF Dora’s construction principles – especially in the italic and display styles – are based on a detailed study of today’s handwriting styles. The main focus was on transforming handwritten shapes into a serif text typeface, not a script face. Much of the distinctive personality of the typeface is derived from this idea. FF Dora is perfectly suited to editorial design, particularly for book and magazine typography. Primarily, it is intended to be used in small sizes but FF Dora’s qualities and styles, especially the display style, bring a certain playfulness to larger sized text.
FF Signa Slab is the newest addition to the comprehensively developed FF Signa Superfamily designed by Ole Søndergaard. With square curves, high shoulders and a characteristically sparse construction, FF Signa Slab comes in seven weights, each with companion italics. The face includes all the necessities needed for professional typesetting such as small caps and the Pro version includes support for Cyrillic-based languages.
Language extensions and format additionspermalink
Our feet have just about touched the ground since the wonderful whirlwind that was TYPO Berlin 2013 last week. So, we thought we’d share some snippets and snapshots.
Taking place over three days and reaching it's eighteenth year running, this year’s TYPO Berlin was one of the biggest yet with design superstars such as Jessica Walsh, Neville Brody, Albert-Jan Pool and Ken Garland.
This year’s conference also played host to the first ever Type Review that took place on Friday 17 May. Members of our official TypeBoard, Erik Spiekermann, Stephen Coles, Erik van Blokland, Andreas Frohloff, Jürgen Siebert and Ivo Gabrowitsch were let loose on stage to critique, commend and appraise typefaces in public.
We were also delighted to meet up with a number of our FontFont designers who were at TYPO Berlin.
The quality of the speakers was fantastic and highlights included Simon Manchipp and Neville Brody. There was a number of workshops to take part in, including Erik Spiekermann’s print workshop and the Calligraphy and Lettering Workshop by our Head of Type, Andreas Frohloff.
Based on a square, FF QType is the latest rising star of our library – our so-called ÜberFontFont for the past quarter.
Traversing the somewhat tricky balance between pure geometry and legibility, FF QType is the brainchild of Achaz Reuss. It contains a vast 20 styles comprising of five subfamilies (Compressed, Condensed, Semi Extended, Extended and Square) each with five weights.
Following firm rules, it is geometric yet optically balanced; the horizontals are thinner than the verticals. The E and C terminals are at angle giving the typeface a lively, more playful character.permalink
Our next TypeBoard takes place on Wednesday 15 May, so the time to submit your typefaces for consideration is fast approaching. But what’s it really like being a FontFont designer? We caught up with one of the newest designers to join the FontFont family, Travis Kochel (designer of the groundbreaking FF Chartwell) to find out about the path that he took to become a type designer and why he chose to submit his already successful typeface Chartwell to our library.
You studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating with your BFA in 2008. What did the design curriculum there look like? Did you have a lot of typography coursework?
Typography was drilled into us. Even in classes not explicitly labeled typography, good type choices and typesetting practices were stressed. At the time it felt more like boot camp, and I actually tried to distance myself from it. It took a few years of real world experience to fully appreciate and understand the value of it. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it just sort of clicked one day, and turned into an obsession.
What inspired you to start designing type? Did your client work at Scribble Tone help while you started your first typeface?
At the time, my first explorations in type design felt more like a curious exploration of letterforms, and a way to take a break from client work. I think what keeps me coming back to it is a strong desire to control every detail of a project. Type is one of the most basic building blocks of a design piece, and there’s an interesting power that comes with controlling that.
You first released FF Chartwell in 2011 under the TK Type label and it was received really well. As Chartwell was already successful in its own right, what prompted you to submit the typeface to FontFont? Do you think it fared better as a FontFont?
Releasing typefaces on your own comes with self doubt, and the nagging question of how it would fare with the feedback and marketing power of an established foundry. After the initial success of Chartwell, I started working on a few additional styles of charts and thought it would be a great opportunity to see what someone else could bring to it. I’ve always had a great admiration for FontFont, and they’ve taken on many experimental releases in the past, so it seemed like a good fit.
Admittedly, I was a little nervous about making the transition, but it has outperformed my expectations by far. FontFont has really given FF Chartwell an amazing second life. I’m also extremely happy with the team’s solution for the web version. It was a brilliant approach to break free of the font format, and instead focus on the interface.
What was the main advantage working with FontFont? Would you publish future type designs through FontFont again? If so why/if not why not?
I will definitely consider FontFont again if I have a design that fits well into the catalog. The biggest advantage is the feedback and insight from the team. It’s comforting to have experienced eyes looking over everything, and offering outside perspectives. It’s also quite apparent that they care every bit as much as you do about the work.
The nuts and bolts of FF Chartwell’s features really push the boundaries of the OpenType format. Are you tempted to continue experimenting and pushing OpenType technology even further?
There’s a lot of opportunity to push OpenType technology further, and it’s definitely something I think about a lot. I haven’t quite found another opportunity where an OpenType solution makes sense, but I’m keeping my eyes open.
How do you spend your day? Can you carve out regular chunks of time for type design? How does your work/life balance look?
My schedule is very erratic, and it usually comes in weeklong chunks of time being focused on one thing. A rough estimate of my time in the past year:
Chicago, New Zealand, Portland … you seem to get around a lot! Do you think that your geographic location feeds into the results of your design work?
The designers and community in each city have definitely influenced the way I think about and approach design. It brings new ideas and perspectives, but also forces you to think about where you stand on those issues.
What’s next for you? Do you think you will release another typeface in the near-future?
Type design will definitely continue to be a large part of my future. But I also really enjoy having a variety of types of projects to work on. It keeps the days interesting, but also brings new perspectives. FF Chartwell was one of those moments where two seemingly unrelated fields of design happily overlapped.
If you could offer a single piece of advice to an aspiring type designer, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just be sure to learn from them, and keep an open ear to feedback, even after releasing.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.permalink
In our third Talking Types, we spoke to Peter about how he manages to work on such a vast range of projects, what it’s like teaching at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague and about his newest typefaces.
Listen to the podcast now and subscribe to Talking Types on iTunes.permalink
Have you used a FontFont in a recent project?
Would you like to win a ticket to TYPO Berlin?
As proud sponsors of this year’s TYPO Berlin, we are delighted to give away three tickets to the conference. With an all-star lineup including Ken Garland, Kate Moross, Jessica Walsh, Anthony Burrill and Albert-Jan Pool (designer of FF DIN), it is simply too good to miss!
How to enter
Just send us an example of FontFonts in use from a project that you have worked on recently and you will automatically be entered into our draw. Please send a link to your website or a PDF of your project with a brief description to firstname.lastname@example.org.
11.00 (CET) Tuesday 30 April. We will announce the winners shortly after the closing date.
*Please note the prize is just the ticket for the conference and not travel to Berlin, so you’ll have to make your own way there ;-)permalink
For the first time in its history, members of the FontFont TypeBoard will be let loose on stage at TYPO Berlin to critique, commend and appraise typefaces in public. In the inaugural FontFont TypeReview, you have the chance to get your work judged by the likes of Erik Spiekermann, Erik van Blokland, Stephen Coles, Andreas Frohloff, Jürgen Siebert and Ivo Gabrowitsch.
In a fun and fast-paced hour, members of the official FontFont TypeBoard will assess and review entries. It’s a golden opportunity to gain invaluable advice, tips and feedback as to how to develop your typeface further and to hear from some typographic heroes.
So, if you are attending TYPO Berlin or are in Berlin on Friday 17 May and would like your typeface to be judged in front of a live audience, make sure you attend FontFont’s first TypeReview.
How it works
On Friday 17 May at 13.00 in the Nest at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures), Erik Spiekermann, Erik van Blokland, Stephen Coles, Andreas Frohloff, Jürgen Siebert and Ivo Gabrowitsch will take to the stage to consider, review and criticize your entry in front of an audience.
How do I enter?
If you would like for your typeface to be publically judged at TYPO Berlin, please come along to the Info Counter on Thursday 16 May with a sample/specimen of your typeface to hand it in. The FontFont TypeReview will then take place the following day, Friday 17 May at 13.00 in the Nest. Due to time constraints, although we’d love to see a full family (if you have one) you can also just enter one weight and style.
I’d really like to enter my typeface to FontFont TypeReview but I don’t have a ticket to TYPO, does this matter?
No, you don’t need a TYPO ticket. This session is open to everyone; just make sure you inform the door staff that you are attending FontFont’s TypeReview.
I don’t want to enter a typeface but I’d still like to watch, is that possible?
Yes, you can still watch. As places are limited, please make sure you arrive on time.
This sounds like a great idea but I’d much prefer to submit my typeface to the official TypeBoard, how do I do so?
The official TypeBoard takes place on 15 May. All details as to how to submit your typeface can be found on our Become a FontFont Designer page.
Can I submit my typeface to the official TypeBoard AND TypeReview?
Yes, of course you can, please just inform us clearly that you would also like your submission to be considered at the TypeReview as well as TypeBoard when you send it. Please note, you will need to be able to attend on the day if you wish to enter TypeReview. All details as to how to submit your typeface to the official TypeBoard can be found on our Become a FontFont Designer page.permalink