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Fontsmith launch FS Split: a sans and serif typeface duo with a specimen designed by Studio.Build

FS Split Sans and FS Split Serif are a matched but contrasting typeface duo by London-based type foundry Fontsmith. They were designed by Senior Type Designer Fernando Mello with creative direction from Founder Jason Smith. The idea was to create something that is ‘less perfect’ and cuts through the mass of digital, geometric typefaces. The result is two typefaces that are simultaneously complementary and contrasting – they work well together but have their own personalities.

FS Split Sans and Serif both have eclectic proportions, with wide round characters and narrow straight ones. There are long descenders and ascenders, and a cap-height that aligns with the latter; dramatic dots on the ‘i’ and ‘j’; oversized top counters on the ‘B’ and ‘3’; and extreme italics at an 18-degree forward-slant angle. Fontsmith founder Jason Smith states: “From the outset, this typeface duo was intended to be a bit odd in proportions and a bit ‘wrong’ in traditional type design terms. I wanted to push the design oddities and balance the quirks with the quality of the type.”

As part of the launch, Fontsmith collaborated with Leeds-based Studio.Build to create a 48-page newspaper specimen, based around the idea of graphic collisions. Their Creative Director and Founder Michael C Place adds: “By designing a tabloid newspaper, we were able to show a series of intentional clashes – there are wonderful moments where the spreads collide together creating tension, a nod to the idiosyncratic nature of the font itself. Looking disparate and archaic when reading as a traditional newspaper, the specimen opens out to single spreads to match the idea of a split personality.”

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