FF Karo supports 111 different languages such as Spanish, English, Portuguese, German and French in Latin scripts. (Please note that not all languages are available for all formats.)
“Typography is what brought me to graphic design,” says FF Karo designer Martin L’Allier. “I played with typefaces before exploring the world of images.” In an introductory type design course offered during his second year of college, he designed the first version of FF Karo (then called Wisigoth and Ostrogoth). A quote from Matthew Carter was the inspiration for L’Allier’s project: “Black letter is technically the perfect digital typeface. It decomposes perfectly into a mosaic on a computer screen. There are beautiful bitmaps. It’s even self-hinting. It’s so perfect for the digital medium, why has it not supplanted roman in our current all-digital typography? Roman makes very indifferent bitmaps, I can assure you.” – Peter Wildbur, Information graphics, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1989.
L’Allier started on FF Karo by studying the bitmaps of Fraktur fonts. “Carter is indeed right about how well-adapted Fraktur letterforms are to the grid-based medium of bitmaps,” he says. L’Allier initially set out to create a bitmap Fraktur, but saw that the field was already well-represented, and that Bézier curves offered a great deal more flexibility.
The design evolved from tiny joined squares to rounded-corner squares with space in between. Glyph selections were made after extensively researching Fraktur typefaces; their history, how they were used traditionally, and what uses they have in contemporary society.
FF Karo combines the calligraphic heritage of Fraktur fonts with the rational and optical dynamics of the grid. Its structure and large glyph selection can contribute to a visually rich piece of graphic design.