2003. Fontsmith was sharing a small, cold, whitewashed studio space in Northburgh Street, Clerkenwell. But things were on the up following prestigious custom type commissions for The Post Office and E4.
“Slab serifs were on the brink of another revival, we could feel it,” says Jason Smith. “All we wanted to do was have a play with these slabs, go as far as we could within what was acceptable and readable.”
“It wasn’t initially clear what was happening,” recalls Phil Garnham. “We were becoming very influenced by our surroundings, outside the studio space. We absorbed the essence and the designer grime of where we were.”
Jason began by drawing stems on-screen. “The key aspect of the font is the upward bend of the leading shoulder serif, the way it kind of ramps up and then plummets back down the stem.
“The regular and light characters are quite narrow – great for text but the bold is quite wide and chunky – better for headlines. I think ‘y’ is quite different for a slab design. We call it the Fontsmith ‘y’.”
Fontsmith were determined to get FS Clerkenwell noticed. To launch the font, Ian Whalley, a designer friend of Fontsmith, captured words heard on the streets of Clerkenwell, set them in the new font and crafted a small book of typographic conversations.
It was a first for Fontsmith. “I think that’s part of why this font has been so successful,” says Phil. “It really does embody the spirit of the area, as a special place for design, arts and crafts. And designers love that.”
FS Clerkenwell, based on influences in and around this part of London with a rich tradition of printing and design, mixes tradition with creation. Old-fashioned values meet new-school trends. Its quirky, contemporary character lends an edge to headlines, logotypes and any large-size text.
Fontsmith offers two kinds of fonts: Standard and Pro. If you work exclusively with Latin-based languages our Standard character set is designed to meet your requirements. However, if you work with Cyrillic and Greek typography please use our Pro fonts.
Both Standard and Pro font versions include a wealth of typographic features and are available to use in supporting OpenType applications such as Adobe Illustrator®, Indesign® and Photoshop®.