London type design studio Fontsmith has launched its latest font family, FS Emeric, with a specimen book designed by Blair Thomson of Believe in – plus a set of type posters designed by eleven top studios including Bibliotheque, Build, DixonBaxi, Pentagram and Non-Format…
FS Emeric is the result of over two years work by Fontsmith’s type design director, Phil Garnham, who set out to create a humanist alternative to classic modernist fonts. “The timeless alphabets of the fifties have a deliberate neutrality born out of an unfaltering mechanical solidity in each line and curve,” he says. “FS Emeric has been designed to share this sense of structure and universality but it also introduces a new approach, intuitively informed by a sense of today, one of progress and optimism.”
The typeface itself is made up of eleven weights – Thin, Extra Light, Light, Book, Regular, Core, Medium, Semi Bold, Bold, Extra Bold and Heavy – each with a corresponding italic.
To launch it, Garnham charged Exeter-based design studio Believe in to create a type sampler that showcased its diversity. The resulting booklet (printed beautifully in four spot colours with two foils on GF Smith paper – cover shown above) features a host of graphic illustrations (including the topmost image in this post) that show how the fonts might be used in a wide range of applications from packaging, signage and screen-based designs. Here are some images:
“Our goals with the campaign were twofold,” explains Believe in’s Blair Thomson, “to demonstrate FS Emeric’s potential and to show off its extraordinary range and versatility. We’ve tried to capture a sense of possibility, so it feels expressive while preserving a pure typographic approach.”
As well as the lovingly printed type sampler, the typeface’s launch campaign also incorporated a poster project for which Fontsmith approached eleven different design studios, asking each to produce a poster using one of the typeface’s eleven weights. “The thinking for the poster series was shaped by three words that represented the character of FS Emeric, Optimistic, Adventurous and Ambitious” explains Thomson. “Each studio was given the same minimal brief and trusted to surprise and delight us with their interpretation.”
Here’s a look at the posters:
Studio Hey in Barcenlona’s approach was to match the tone of the typeface’s Bold weight with a friendly “hello”.
Non-Format‘s poster features lyrics from David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy (tracks Low, Heroes and Lodger).
Pentagram‘s poster shows the full-stop of the Core weight of FS Emeric at 11,750 point size, thus celebrating one of the typeface’s unique design details.
“I really enjoyed working with [the ExtraBold weight of] the font,” says Bernd Kuchenbeiser of Atelier Bernd Kuchenbeiser of his poster (above). “It has so many fabulous details, like the apostrophes [which] I fell instantly in love with.”
Manual‘s Anti-hero poster, the San Francisco-based studio’s Tom Crabtree explains, “is based on the widely held assumption that the deliberate neutrality of modernist typefaces can be seen as ‘the hero with a thousand faces’ of the font world.”
Charged with using the typeface’s Heavy weight, NB Studio decided to name some of their favourite heavy metal bands – eleven to be precise, a nod to the volume knobs on Spinal Tap’s famous amplifiers
Lundgren+Lindqvist in Gothenburg riffed on the idea of Extra Light, tasking a 14 year old field trip student to set the type for the above poster.
Rotterdam-based Studio Dumbar created its poster using thousands of individual characters from the Medium and Medium Italic styles.
Meanwhile DixonBaxi‘s poster was inspired by the “history of the expression ‘Time and tide wait for no man'”, according to the studio’s Steve Johnston. “We used visual references from the font to craft the iconography, creating an image that aimed to capture the combined essence of the font and the phrase,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Michael C Place of Build combined FS Emeric’s lyrical bounce with his love of Hip Hop to create the above poster which lists all the samples featured on Public Enemy’s album It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back.
“The idea came from looking at the details of the font that help define it,” says Bibliothèque‘s Jonathon Jeffrey of his studio’s approach to the Thin weight poster, above. “We liked the abstracted shapes we got when cropping into these and the fact that the Thin font became bolder and more pictorial at scale.”
Believe in designed a twelfth poster (above) and all 12 have been screenprinted in editions of 50 by Dan Mather on to A1 175gsm Colorplan stock and hand numbered. Fontsmith is giving away a randomly selected poster when two or more weights of FS Emeric are purchased (while stocks last).
To find out more about the typeface, you can visit its own microsite at fsemeric.com.
The April print issue of CR presents the work of three young animators and animation teams to watch. Plus, we go in search of illustrator John Hanna, test out the claims of a new app to have uncovered the secrets of viral ad success and see how visual communications can both help keep us safe and help us recover in hospital
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