FS Industrie is an adaptive type system designed around five different widths and seven different weights, creating a total of 70 different variants (including italics).
Inspired by classic German fonts from the 1930s, FS Industrie has a precise and direct feel but, in typical Fontsmith style, without ever sacrificing its humanity. Designed by Phil Garnham and Fernando Mello, it has a classic sense of functional utility delivered with a progressive view of where type is heading.
Crucially in the design of FS Industrie, each width and weight is drawn by hand. Variable type requires both a systematic approach and a focus on craft. Terminals that are closed in the condensed glyphs open out in the wider widths. The design adapts as it moves across the system, ensuring each variant can play to its unique strengths while also pairing perfectly with its siblings.
The project began with the Fontsmith design team asking some fundamental questions about the role fonts might play in these new platforms. They also considered how designers might use typography in more interesting ways across the full range of brand and marketing communications, not just in digital and screen-based media.
Fontsmith type design director Phil Garnham said, “We are on the cusp of a new age in digital typeface design where the ability to vary a font’s weight and width axis offers limitless possibilities to graphic designers within any given space.”
“It is the spirit of variable design and flexibility that drove us to create FS Industrie. A response to the changing nature of type, for brands that are responding to the changing nature of work”.
FS Industrie is an ambitious typeface, and Fontsmith wanted to highlight its release through a similarly ambitious launch campaign, a task they handed to UK/Canada-based design studio and long term collaborator Believe in®.
The variable nature of FS Industrie lies at the heart of the campaign idea. This led to 1000 unique type specimens being created, each one personal to its recipient. They feature content that was generated through an online survey completed by over 400 creative professionals. Each cover has the recipient’s name laser cut into it using a ‘punched card’ alphabet, with the apertures revealing a limited edition letterpress print designed by one of 10 studios from around the world.
Each studio was given the full set of fonts and a different coloured stock, and asked to create a single piece of artwork. These were then letterpress printed, with 170 hand-numbered editions of each design being produced. The list of studios and designers is drawn from 5 continents and is a mix of established studios and emerging talent.