FF Marselis crossbreeds geometric and humanistic forms, creating a freshly dynamic sans serif family. All of the counters in the typeface are open; this aids readers’ eyes quickly flow across lines of text, without experiencing hang-ups. Certain superfluous strokes have been eliminated – there are no spurs on the b or q, for instance. The alphabet’s diagonals all bow outwards slightly, adding flavor to the “A”, “K”, “R”, “V”, “W”, “X”, “Y” and “Z”.
Many designers chance upon using the same graphic shape for the lowercase “a” and “e” – indeed, the idea seems simple enough: just rotate the form 180º and you should be done! However, almost all attempts at this sort of theoretical simplification fail in practice. With his design for FF Marselis, Jan Maack has found a key to making it work. Rather than whole letterforms, a tear-drop form repeats throughout the alphabet, not only in the bowl of the lowercase “a” or “e”, but also in the “k” and the uppercase “Q”. This tear-drop for is a vivid, smooth junction of strokes, most commonly seen in the connection of the lower curves with the vertical stem in lowercase “a” of many typical grotesk-style sans serifs.
FF Marselis offers several figure styles per font, including oldstyle figures. The family includes four weights – Light, Regular, Bold and Black. Each weight has a companion italic. Several letterforms change between the upright and italic fonts; for instance, the “a” becomes single-storied, and the “f” grows a descender.
When designing the Slab version Jan Maack has not just added serifs but revised the letter forms. FF Marselis Slab has rounded inner corners to make the serifs more subtle; it has more closed counters, a slightly reduced horizontal thickness and uneven diagonals. Contrary to the Sans version, the b has a stem in FF Marselis Slab, and the k has a longer leg, bending outward. The weight range in the Sans and Slab version is the same, so this super family is particularly suitable for corporate design.
FF Marselis 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.)