Thin
Thin
Thin Italic
Thin Italic
ExtraLight
ExtraLight
ExtraLight Italic
ExtraLight Italic
Light
Light
Light Italic
Light Italic
Regular
Regular
Italic
Italic
Medium
Medium
Medium Italic
Medium Italic
SemiBold
SemiBold
SemiBold Italic
SemiBold Italic
Bold
Bold
Bold Italic
Bold Italic
ExtraBold
ExtraBold
ExtraBold Italic
ExtraBold Italic
Black
Black
Black Italic
Black Italic
Pure and not-so-simple
Pure and not-so-simple

Maybe it’s the air of purity, openness and transparency that they transmit, but geometric typefaces are more popular than ever among leading brands. Based on near-perfect circles, triangles and squares, geometric letterforms look uncomplicated, even though making them readable is anything but – something the designers of the first wave of geometric fonts discovered nearly a century ago. Many of the world’s most recognisable brands in technology, retail, travel, food, manufacturing and other industries continue to be drawn to the straightforward, honest character that geometric fonts convey.

Fontsmith set out in 2015 to develop a typeface in the same tradition, but optimised for the demands of modern brands – online and offline usage, readability and accessibility. And, of course, with the all-important Fontsmith x-factor built in. FS Lucas is the bold and deceptively simple result.

Pure and not-so-simple
Handle with care
Handle with care

The letterforms of FS Lucas are round and generous, along the lines of Trajan Column lettering stripped of its serifs. But beware their thorns. Their designer, Stuart de Rozario, who also crafted the award-winning FS Millbank, wanted a contrast between spiky and soft, giving sharp apexes to the more angular letterforms, such as A, M, N, v, w and z.

Among his inspirations were the colourful, geometric compositions of Frank Stella, the 1920s art deco poster designs of AM Cassandre, and the triangular cosmic element symbol, which led him to tackle the capital A first, instead of the usual H. The proportions and angles of the triangular form would set the template for many of the other characters. It was this form, and the light-scattering effects of triangular prisms, that lit the path to a name for the typeface: Lucas is derived from lux, the Latin word for light.

Stuart de Rozario
Handle with care
Recommended reading
Recommended reading

Early geometric typefaces were accused of putting mathematical integrity before readability. FS Lucas achieves the trick of appearing geometric, while taking the edge off elements that make reading difficult.

Perfectly circlular shapes don’t read well. The way around that is to slightly thicken the vertical strokes, and pull out the curves at the corners to compensate; the O and o of FS Lucas are optical illusions. Pointed apexes aren’t as sharp as they look; the flattened tips are an essential design feature. And distinctive details such as the open terminals of the c, e, f, g, j, r and s, and the x-height bar on the i and j, aid legibility, especially on-screen.

These and many other features, the product of sketching the letterforms in the first instance by hand rather than mapping them out mechanically by computer, give FS Lucas the built-in humanity and character that make it a better, easier read all-round.

Recommended reading
Marks of distinction
Marks of distinction

Unlike some of its more buttoned-up geometric bedfellows, FS Lucas can’t contain its natural personality and quirks: the flick of the foot of the l, for example, and the flattish tail on the g and j. The unusual bar on the J improves character recognition, and the G is circular, without a straight stem. There’s a touch of Fontsmith about the t, too, with the curve across the left cross section in the lighter weights, and the ampersand is one of a kind.

There’s a lot to like about Lucas. With its 9 weights, perfect proportions and soft but spiky take on the classic geometric font, it’s a typeface that could light up any brand.

Marks of distinction
Lowercase
Uppercase
Figures & Currency (Tabular Lining)
Figures & Currency (Proportional Lining)
Mathematical Forms
Superiors & Fractions
Punctuation & Marks
Ligatures
Discretionary Ligatures
Accents
Stylistic Alternatives (Set One)