Frost’s grotesk sans serif Blank builds upon modernist art galleries as a point of inspiration
Spanning 26 cuts over 13 weights – from Skeleton to Black – British type foundry Frost’s grotesk sans serif Blank may very well be crafted for the modern-day, however, it found its inspiration from modernist typography found in European and US art galleries throughout the 20th and 21st century.
“It was after walking through the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and MoMA in NYC,” Co-founder Harrison Marshall recalls, “that I appreciated how cleanly a grotesk could tie such a mixed collection of art together,” combining to form one unified entity. “The transparency of the type is what initially informed the design,” he explains, noting the relevance of the typeface’s name, as well as the contextual relevance of the wayfinding and exhibition-inspired glyphs that are included.
“The type design combines historical references to some of the classics,” noting classics the likes of Haas Unica, Univers and Helvetica as inspirations, “with our contemporary approach to a clean-cut set of letterforms;” capitalising on new technology to accommodate the modern demand for flexibility. “The typeface works equally as well when used in large headlines to small body texts,” Marshall adds, discussing the variety of weights on offer, “it also offers stylistic alternatives, case-sensitive forms, discretionary ligatures and other OpenType features,” he adds, as part of a larger collective of subfamilies. “It is an ongoing project that will continue to widen in versatility – we’ve already released the mono version, but there’s also extended and condensed styles in the works.”
In the end, Blank overcomes the challenge of its concept; creating something both lively and neutral. A conflict harmonised over the typeface’s three years in production. “The biggest challenge has been finding its final personality,” Marshall concludes, “with the right balance between the level of character and its ‘blankness.’”