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Nick Shinn’s idea behind FF Fontesque was to do something that was very loose, with really extreme proportions, but at the same time 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. To improve legibility the irregularity of the texture of white space maximized. If you look at the word “sea” in Helvetica, with its six similar spaces, you can see what FF Fontesque tries to avoid.
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FF Fontesque Text | The original iteration 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 side bearings are wider. However, some details were kept fine to preserve the “cut” of the face. Another reason for a text version is that in many instances people would prefer a little more heft. You know the kind of thing that can go wrong: someone uses 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 Sans | Introducing the typeface that belongs in every food cupboard, uh, fonts folder, Nick Shinn peeled off the serifs, thrown it in a pot with some Helvetica, added a dash of Swiss, and cooked to perfection. Mmm, enjoy.
The FF Fontesque OpenType make-over presents an interpretation of the typeface that is more sophisticated than the original grunge-era rendering, with carefully refined drawing of the glyphs. There is a contextual alternate for every character, including all spaces, accented characters, punctuation, figures, ligatures, and so on, meaning every character is represented by two different glyphs. Most alternates are similar in structure, but slightly different in proportion, alignment, and detail. The overall effect enhances the original premise of Fontesque – the appearance of graceful hand lettering without mechanical repetition. Thanks to advanced OpenType technology this remarkable family finally reaches its full potential. Besides more language supports, additional alternate glyphs and ornaments, a few more new Display weights complete the family to perfection.