In 2008, Fontsmith were approached by their friend, Jon Scott, to investigate whether a typeface could assume the aesthetic of one artist’s body of work. Jon’s not-for-profit charity, Measure, was organising an event for the artist, Conrad Shawcross, whose giant mechanical installation, entitled Chord, was going on public display in the long-disused Kingsway tram tunnel in Holborn.
Chord explores the way we perceive time, as either a line or a cycle. Two enormous machines with dozens of rotating arms and moving in opposite directions, weave rope with almost infinite slowness.
Phil Garnham visited Conrad in his Hackney studio to get a feel for his work and ideas. “Conrad is a very clever and philosophical guy. He struggled to see how typeface design had any relevance to him and his art. This was going to be a challenge.”
The artist presented the type designer with a pile of rope and a huge diagram of sketches and mathematical workings. “This was, in essence, my brief.”
Phil developed three concepts, the simplest of which ticked all the boxes. “The idea of the strokes in the letterforms appearing and ending at peaks or points of origin fitted perfectly with Conrad’s idea of time occurring and ending at two ends of the sculpture.”
Phil planned modules for two versions of the typeface: one with five lines in the letterforms and one with seven. He then drew the modules on-screen and twisted and turned them to build the machine that is FS Conrad.
“This is not a simple headline typeface,” says Phil. “It’s not a rigid structure. It has varying character widths, and it’s informed by real typographic insight and proportions so that it actually works as piece of functioning, harmonious type.”
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.
Afar, Afrikaans, Albanian, Aragonese, Aranese, Aromanian, Arvanitika (Latin), Asturian, Aymara, Basque, Bemba, Belarusian (Latin), Bislama, Bosnian (Latin), Breton, Catalan, Chamorro, Chichewa, Chiga, Chuukese, Cofán, Crimean Tatar (Latin), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Faroese, Fijian, Finnish, Filipino (Modern Latin), Flemish, Franco-Provencal, French, Frisian, Friulian, Gaelic (Irish), Gaelic (Manx), Gaelic (Scottish), Gagauz (Latin), Galician, Ganda, German, Gilbertese/Kiribati, Greenlandic, Gusii, Haitian Creole, Hawaiian, Hungarian, Icelandic, Ido, Indonesian, Interlingua, Italian, Kabuverdianu, Kalenjin, Kikuyu, Kashubian, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Kituba, Kurdish (Latin Hawar), Ladin, Ladino (Latin), Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Low German, Luba-Kasai, Luxembougish, Malagasy, Malay (Latin), Maltese, Maori, Moldavian (Latin), Mauritian Creole, Nauruan, Ndebele, Norwegian Bokmål, Norwegian Nynorsk, Nyankole, Occitan, Oromo, Palauan/Belauan, Papiamento, Polish, Portuguese, Quechua, Rarotongan, Romanian, Romansch, Sami, Sango, Sardinian, Serbian (Latin), Seychellois Creole, Shona, Slovak, Slovenian, Soga, Somali, Sorbian, Spanish, Swahili, Swati (Swazi), Swedish, Swiss German, Tagalog (Filipino), Tahitian, Tetum, Tok Pisin, Tokeluan, Tongan, Tsonga, Tswana, Turkish, Turkmen, Tuvaluan, Ulithian, Wallisian, Walloon, Welsh, Walof, Xhosa and Zulu.
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®.