FF Karbid is an interpretation of storefront lettering created between 1900 and the late 1930s that was preserved due to the German Democratic Republic’s economy of scarcity. In the beginning of the 1990s, FF Karbid’s designer Verena Gerlach documented storefront lettering in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte districts. Sadly, these have since almost entirely disappeared from the landscape, due to gentrification and renovation work in the reunified German capital. However, their spirit lives on in the idiosyncratic letter forms of the FF Karbid typefaces. Originally published in only three weights and one display version in 1999, FF Karbid was completely redesigned and extended in 2011.
All of the FF Karbid fonts contain numerous alternate characters, allowing you to considerably change the appearance of the typeface. These alternates are based on the sometimes eccentric forms of Art Deco lettering styles. For instance, using Stylistic Sets, you can choose between low- and high-waisted variants of capital letters, a circular O and G, an A with either a pointed apex or a rounded top, and many more alternates, all of which may be used interchangeably. The FF Karbid fonts also include four figure sets, plus smaller-sized figures and fractions, arrows, bullets, and full Latin Extended language support.
FF Karbid Display is the most obvious spin-off of the original Karbid. The characteristic letter forms were assimilated, then subtly revised to match the new concept. The family was extended to five weights, complete with matching Obliques.
The FF Karbid suite of typefaces now also includes a new slab version: FF Karbid Slab. Its sober, newslike character was inspired by magazine typography in the 1930s (see Memphis, Rockwell, Stymie etc.). The strong serifs give the slab serif a dignified and assured look. The stroke contrast was increased for legibility and balance.
The final variant added to the FF Karbid type system is the new text version: FF Karbid Text. This is intended for setting body copy in small text sizes, mainly for publication design (books, magazines, etc.). The character shapes are more subdued – the eccentric, serif-like swashes in the lowercase a, d, h, m, n, u and capital R were abandoned, while the lively l, y, z and Z reveal this variant’s kinship to the FF Karbid family.
FF Karbid supports 113 different languages such as Spanish, English, Portuguese, German and French in Latin scripts. (Please note that not all languages are available for all formats.)