The making of: Secret Dossier + Coded Transmissions

Phil Garnham New typefaces
11 Jun’15

To introduce our newest typeface family, FS Silas Sans and FS Silas Slab, we worked with Believe In and The Space Between, to bring to life a creative concept that draws on the fonts’ intriguing nature.

The first task was to find a name that would reflect its utilitarian sensibilities, crafted nature and hidden depths. Using the font brings to mind a host of cultural references including film noir, Scandinavian TV dramas and classic cold war espionage. So from an initial shortlist we chose Silas, a popular Scandinavian name with a folksy feel and a mysterious quality.

At the heart of the launch campaign are the printed type specimen and video teasers. The type specimen weaves themes of espionage into the form of a secret dossier, combining different paper stocks and page sizes into the finished piece. It is kept intentionally pure, the artwork consists only of type, printed in black ink throughout, save for a white foil that’s used on the Manila cover and enclosing folder.

The content provides a glimpse into the clandestine world of espionage, using original codes, ciphers, intercepted radio transmissions, stories and secret service terminology.

The teasers by The Space Between feel like intercepted messages, each one revealing a small part of the overall story. One of the key sources in this part of the campaign are “Number Stations”, used by intelligence agencies to transmit secret messages in various languages, with male and female voices repeating strings of numbers or phonetic letters.

The clips are drawn from a great collection of “Number Stations” shortwave recordings at The Conet Project, noise grooves from a vintage Roland SH-101, along with a few other synth sources and various effects.

The Space Between used Adobe Flash Builder and After Effects to create energetic sequences showing the different weights of the font in many contexts. They edited them into a click track, using a chevron motif and a recurring yellow block to draw things together.

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