FS Industrie letterpress prints from around the globe

Tamasin Handley Inspiration
4 Apr’18

To celebrate the launch of new type system FS Industrie, Fontsmith worked with UK/Canada-based design studio Believe in® to commission 10 different letterpress designs from studios and designers around the world. The letterpress prints are inserted into the front cover pocket of each type specimen.          

Each studio was given the full set of fonts and a different shade of GF Smith Colorplan paper and asked to create a single piece of artwork. These were then letterpress printed by Colchester-based Typoretum, with 170 hand-numbered editions of each design being produced.

In line with the wider campaign, the choice of studios and designers blends established with new, and represents a range of different styles. The size and format is identical for all, and the brief included limited options on ink choice, namely black plus either red, blue or deboss.

The list of studios and designers is drawn from 5 continents and is a mix of established studios and emerging talent.

The Studios

Design by Toko (Sydney, Australia)

Colorplan: Lavender

‘The beautiful clean lines of the typeface in combination with the predetermined framing of the card inspired us to create a hard-edge work of “art”.’

Fraser Muggeridge studio (London, UK)

Colorplan: Fuchsia

‘A photocopy enlargement repeated again and again breathes new life into type. What does the machine add and take away through a process that affects the image? A one off manual copy that can never be repeated; the knowing hand of the designer made visible through the looking glass.’

FutureBrand (New York, USA)

Colorplan: Mandarin

‘The future of work is unequivocally female. But until women are valued on a par with male colleagues — both financially and professionally — the shadow of inequality looms large. The question is: which companies will keep on fumbling, and which ones will seize the opportunities that come with true equity?’

Kurppa Hosk (Stockholm, Sweden)

Colorplan: Turquoise

‘Our idea is the Bauhaus School, and its pioneering industrialization of art and crafts in the 1920s. The name “Industrie” together with the clean and cold expression led us to mix the idea and put the typography in a European mid-century structure. The grid system seems to collapse, and its beams fall irregularly on the surface. A graphic attempt to illustrate and abstract the silhouettes/mechanical parts from the industry of the time.’

Moniker (San Francisco, USA)

Colorplan: Tabriz Blue

‘A quote from modernist architect, Mies van der Rohe, "Build, don't talk" is a timeless sentiment that applies to today's nonstop exchange of ideas, opinion, and debate across the internet. Though rigorous debate and criticism is necessary, we hope that it is followed by putting ideas into action for the future of work.’

Quadradão (São Paulo, Brazil)

Colorplan: Factory Yellow

‘Quadradão Studio constructed a composition by deleting anchor points of FS Industrie type. 
The code system created plays with a transition sequence that goes from legible letters to abstract forms.’

Cécile + Roger (Geneva, Switzerland)

Colorplan: Candy Pink

‘Today and tomorrow’s graphic designer needs to keep one eye on the past and the other on the future. They have to be curious about new possibilities, mostly digital, but also traditional techniques. This mix is symbolized by traditional letterpress and our digital work.’

Shin, Dokho (Berlin, Germany)

Colorplan: Park Green

‘Industry (ˈɪndəstri) – economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of goods in factories. This diagram explains the structure of the type family, which consists of five categories. At the same time, its composition resembles an industrial component of the production line in the factory.’

Studio Mut (Bolzano, Italy)

Colorplan: Citrine

‘What is the future of work? At Studio Mut we hope that human ingenuity will continue to trump the takeover attempts by technology… The designer of tomorrow has to be: Activist, thinker, artist.’

Wang Zhi-Hong (Taipei, Taiwan)

Colorplan: Bright Red

‘The International System of Units (SI) is the standard system of measurement used widely in the world. SI comprises seven base units and their definitions are interdependent. I applied the Industrie typeface to layout this system. Given the similarities between SI and Industrie, we could find the typeface's character and flexibility.’

Blair Thomson creative director of UK/Canada-based design studio Believe in® said:

‘The very physical nature of letterpress printing offers a more industrial feel, which combines well with the digitally printed type specimen. We approached studios with particular strengths when working with type, and gave them plenty of freedom to express the campaign theme using the type system however they liked.’

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