FontFont wanted more information about the FF Fontesque designs. So we asked its designer, Nick Shinn, for details. Here is our interview with him.
FontFont: What’s the idea behind FF Fontesque?
Nick Shinn: I wanted to do something that was very loose, with really extreme proportions, but at the same time it needed to be beautifully drawn. And although it would be a “novelty” face, it would set like real type, with a bold and a proper italic. And be original. That was the challenge. FF Fontesque is based on several concurrent design principles. Like animation; this is the idea that the characters are alive, moving, and can’t stand still. It’s expressed globally in the irregularity of size, varying angles of the uprights, and non-adherence to the baseline. Individually, each character is stretching, with sinuous curves and proportions that don’t divide evenly: each letter has a small part and a big part.
FF: Doesn’t that harm legibility?
NS: Quite the opposite. In FF Fontesque I maximized the irregularity of the texture of white space to improve legibility. If you look at the word “sea” in Helvetica, with its six similar spaces, you can see what I’ve tried to avoid.
FF: What about FF Fontesque Text?
NS: The original FF Fontesque is a graceful, delicate face – a display face, really. So for a wider variety of body-copy use, the addition of a more robust “text” version is a good idea. The weight is slightly heavier, the hairlines are thicker and the serifs bigger. Also, the sidebearings are wider. However, I’ve kept some details fine to preserve the “cut” of the face. But there’s another reason for a text version. I get the impression, from the way I’ve seen FF Fontesque used over the past few years, that in many instances people would prefer a little more heft. You know the kind of thing that can go wrong: someone uses FF Fontesque to surprint a busy photo, and it’s not quite strong enough, so they add a drop shadow, but it still doesn’t look right, because the hairlines are so fine. A text version would help here too, at display size.
FF Fontesque supports 160 different languages such as Spanish, English, Portuguese, Russian, German and French in Latin and Cyrillic scripts. (Please note that not all languages are available for all formats.)