Behind the scenes of our new digital playground for FS Untitled

Tamasin Handley New typefaces
18 Mar’16

For our launch of FS Untitled we published an interactive ‘digital playground’ to let designers explore the typeface in more detail. This was a completely new approach for Fontsmith and something very different from the usual type specimen sheets.

Here’s what Jason and creators The Space Between had to say about it:

Jason Smith, Founder, Fontsmith

‘The Space Between created code-based animations for the FS Silas launch in 2015, so we asked them to come up with a concept for the launch of our new typeface. Founder Matt Rudd had worked with us on the original incarnation of the font for Channel 4 back in 2005, so it was a bit like getting the band back together.’

‘I wanted to digitally showcase the flexibility of the typeface with its 12 weights and italics with a beautiful online asset that would grab the attention of designers and developers alike and encourage them to engage. I knew Matt and Steve were the right people to work with, their concept for the digital playground was perfect. It was this thinking outside the box that we were after, it was so different to how we normally do things by characterising our fonts with a name, and that was exciting.’

Matt Rudd, Founder, The Space Between

‘Rather than design predictable specimen sheets, we wanted to create an exciting digital playground where people could explore the typeface in depth. Above all, the playground needed to show the timeless beauty and flexibility of the typeface in a new way, so we worked hard to create many kinds of typographic execution and interactivity. For example, FS Zombie is a fully-functioning arcade game and FS Alchemist takes the user from ‘LEAD’ to ‘GOLD’ via every letter in the alphabet.’

‘With ‘FS Untitled’ as the core of our idea, we invented four names for every weight. For the lightest weights, we came up with names like FS Invisible, FS Ghost and FS Butterfly, and at the heaviest end, FS Shout, FS Boom and FS Apocalypse. For each of these names, we designed and built an interactive scene.’

Steve Jones, Co-Founder, The Space Between

‘It starts with a grid containing all 48 imagined names as cells which light up when you touch them. If you click a cell, it takes you into that scene, or you can move around the grid using the arrow keys and toggle between roman and italic by pressing ‘i’. We also created an interactive specimen sheet on the bottom row of the grid, where you can explore all 12 weights and smoothly scale from tiny type to massive cropped characters in one seamless move. I think that’s my favourite feature, actually.’

‘Each scene has a unique URL so people can share their favourites on Facebook, Twitter or via email. The playground can also be embedded directly on web pages and blogs, meaning there is no need to visit the website to enjoy the experience.

48 unique interactive scenes to design and build. Ambitious? No, sheer madness…’

For more information about the playground take a look at this blog post by The Space Between.

For more information about FS Untitled here is the press release.

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