With the FF Govan series, type-setting becomes type-sculpting. FF Govan is a small family of chunky sans serif faces; there are three widths available.
In 1999, Glasgow was the UK City of Architecture and Design. MetaDesign, then based in Berlin, London, and San Francisco, performed a great degree of creative work for this campaign. Included in this was a special typeface, designed by Erik Spiekermann and Ole Schäfer.
In design circles, Glasgow is famous for the art nouveau work of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868–1928). While working on the typeface that would become FF Govan, Schäfer chanced upon a note from Prof. Andy MacMillian of the Mackintosh School of Architecture that described Glasgow as “Scottish in its stone, European in its urban pedigree, American in its gridiron plan.” It was important that the Glasgow typeface would be flexible. The fonts include a number of alternates, ligatures, and icons.
FF Govan ties together contemporary sans serif letterforms with elements reminiscent of Mackintosh’s lettering. The original FF Govan family was released in the pre-OpenType days; it included alternate fonts with the stylistically different letterforms, as well as versions of letters with overscores and underscores – thick lines above or below reduced-sized letters.
The strength of the fonts lie in the innovative manner in which the two ascender heights, two descender lengths and dingbats can be combined. The results are striking and offer a unique way to create emphasis in a sentence or even within a single word. The fonts include a large selection of ligatures that represent the most common letter combinations in English, German and French.
Like the ornaments, these alternates have been included in the new OpenType fonts, so that each of the three FF Govan fonts includes all of the old extras for the specific weights.
FF Govan 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.)