FS Brabo

FS Brabo

is the eloquent type
4 fonts / Standard / Desktop / Web / App
Download specimen sheet (PDF)
Family £160.00 / Single weight £80.00

FS Brabo Family

FS Brabo Features

Even though it’s a new arrival, FS Brabo has seen the world. Designed by a Brazilian working in London and studying in Belgium under a Dutchman, it’s certainly well-travelled. And it was inspired by the extraordinary archive of early book typefaces at the world-renowned Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, while Fernando Mello was attending Frank Blokland’s Expert class Type Design course at the Plantin Institute of Typography. It was there that Fernando became engrossed in the collection of early metal type, matrices, punches and type samples by figures such as Garamond and Granjon. So much so that he took on the mighty task of developing ‘a beautiful, functional, serifed text font’ of his own.


FS Brabo’s journey from sketch to font family took an epic three years, starting in Antwerp, continuing at Fontsmith in London, and reaching its conclusion back in Fernando’s home city of São Paulo. No wonder Fernando was reminded of another titanic face-off: that of Antwerp’s Roman hero of legend, Silvius Brabo, and the evil ogre, Antigoon. Brabo came to the town’s rescue after the tyrannical giant had been charging ships’ captains extortionate taxes and chopping off the hands of those who refused to pay up. Having finally downed Antigoon after a long and terrible duel, Brabo cut off the giant’s own hand and threw it into the river Scheldt, unwittingly giving the town its name: the Dutch for ‘hand-throw’ is hand werpen. What better way for Fernando to name his literary typeface than after the hero of Antwerp’s oldest tale?


FS Brabo is not a revival, but a very much a contemporary, personal interpretation of a garalde – a class of typeface originating in the 16th century that includes Bembo, Garamond and Plantin, with characteristically rounded serifs and moderate contrast between strokes. Brabo’s ‘ct’ and ‘st’ ligatures, upper-case italic swashes and contextual ending ligatures – ‘as’, ‘is’, ‘us’ – all preserve the beauty and character of traditional typefaces, but its serifs are chunkier than a garalde. Their sharp cuts and squared edges give them a crispness at text sizes, helping to bring a beautifully bookish personality to hardworking modern applications.

The garalde factor

It may give the appearance of a simple, four-weight typeface, but FS Brabo has hidden depths beneath its simplicity and beauty. OpenType features such as cap italic swashes, contextual ending swashes – programmed only to appear at the end of words – and stylistic alternatives make this a complete and well-equipped typeface. Comprehensive testing was carried out at text and display sizes, too, to prevent counters from filling in. All of which makes FS Brabo a very modern take on a traditional workhorse serif typeface: colourful and versatile enough to adorn not just editorial projects but also signage, advertising and logotypes.

A workhorse with pedigree
Want to use FS Brabo as your brand font?

Standard Vs. Pro

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.

Standard Vs. Pro
Small Caps
Ligature Set
Discretionary Ligatures
Tabular Lining
Proportional Lining
Tabular Oldstyle
Proportional Oldstyle
Lining Slashed Zero
Punctuation & Marks
Stylistic Alternatives
Ending Swashes
Italic Swashes And Peculiars
Contextual Alternates
Language support
Uppercase Yes
Lowercase Yes
Accents Yes
Small Caps Yes
Ligature Set Yes
Discretionary Ligatures Yes
Tabular Lining Yes
Proportional Lining Yes
Tabular Oldstyle Yes
Proportional Oldstyle Yes
Lining Slashed Zero Yes
Superiors Yes
Inferiors Yes
Numerators Yes
Denominators Yes
Ordinals Yes
Fractions Yes
Punctuation & Marks Yes
Stylistic Alternatives
Swashes Yes
Ending Swashes Yes
Italic Swashes And Peculiars Yes
Contextual Alternates Yes
Language support

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®.