FF Folk is a small series of fonts based on lettering that Ben Shahn used in his paintings and lithographs. The Ben Shahn Folk Alphabet was originally created as lettering in 1940, and was reconstructed and redesigned by Maurizio Osti and Jane Patterson in 1995, with the consent and approval of Mrs. Bernarda Shahn and the Estate of Ben Shahn, under license from VAGA (New York). Shahn taking inspiration from vernacular shapes while drawing his original alphabet – “lettering for the illiterate;” he called it the “folk alphabet.” He felt that letters and words should have the same importance as images and drawings, and he combined them in his work.
The fonts each have two character shapes per letter (one for the uppercase keymap position, and another for the lowercase position) that best capture the vibrant variety present in the original artwork. Therefore, it is possible to compose text by combining uppercase and lowercase interchangeably (e.g., UPPERCASE ONLY, lowercase only, and UpPeR aNd LoWeRcAsE) to achieve a more personal effect. FF Folk Regular is inspired by “Bring back our Sons from far” (gouache and gold leaf; 40 x 26 inches); FF Folk Rough by the graphic work “Immortal Words” 1958. (Silk screen in black, 15 x 20 inches). The FF Folk Light and FF Folk Rough Light variants were drawn to complete the family.
Ben Shahn was born in Kovno, Lithuania in 1898, and moved to the United States in 1906. He died in 1969. At an early age, he developed a passion for lettering; while working as a lithographer, he developed a great understanding of this artistic discipline.
FF Folk supports 63 different languages such as Spanish, English, Portuguese, German and French in Latin scripts. (Please note that not all languages are available for all formats.)