Studio René Bieder’s ‘grotesk superfamily’ Freigeist is a love letter to 19th Century sans serifs
Beginning as a monoline sans serif typeface exiled to his drafts folder, Berlin-based independent typographic designer René Bieder returned to Freigeist after adopting an interest in 19th Century sans serifs, giving the examples of Caslon’s Doric and Stephenson Blake’s Grotesques variations as inspiration. “I stumbled across a folder with specimens of Stephenson Blake Grotesques on Stephen Coles Flickr account”, Bieder explains, telling us that he “felt that this could be a good starting point for the unfinished family”. This provided a new lease of life for what now consists of sixty cuts, five widths, six weights, ligatures, alternative shapes, numerous number sets and italics, becoming a true modern grotesk superfamily, maintaining consistency from the lightest to the heaviest weight.
In recontextualising 19th Century sans serifs into a contemporary setting, Bieder has developed a type family that stays true to the meaning behind its name, translating to ‘free spirit’ in German, and gives a burst of expression, dynamism and a definite sense of character into a genre synonymous with the likes of Helvetica. Freigeist has an innate warmth and friendliness within its design, continuing to be as accessible as possible by housing support for over 200 languages from both Latin and Cyrillic languages, including OpenType features to aid modern typesetting.