About FS Conrad Font Family
Art into type
In 2008, Fontsmith were approached by their friend, Jon Scott, to investigate whether a typeface could assume the aesthetic of one artist’s body of work. Jon’s not-for-profit charity, Measure, was organising an event for the artist, Conrad Shawcross, whose giant mechanical installation, entitled Chord, was going on public display in the long-disused Kingsway tram tunnel in Holborn.
Chord explores the way we perceive time, as either a line or a cycle. Two enormous machines with dozens of rotating arms and moving in opposite directions, weave rope with almost infinite slowness.
An unusual brief
Phil Garnham visited Conrad in his Hackney studio to get a feel for his work and ideas. “Conrad is a very clever and philosophical guy. He struggled to see how typeface design had any relevance to him and his art. This was going to be a challenge.”
The artist presented the type designer with a pile of rope and a huge diagram of sketches and mathematical workings. “This was, in essence, my brief.”
Phil developed three concepts, the simplest of which ticked all the boxes. “The idea of the strokes in the letterforms appearing and ending at peaks or points of origin fitted perfectly with Conrad’s idea of time occurring and ending at two ends of the sculpture.”
Phil planned modules for two versions of the typeface: one with five lines in the letterforms and one with seven. He then drew the modules on-screen and twisted and turned them to build the machine that is FS Conrad.
“This is not a simple headline typeface,” says Phil. “It’s not a rigid structure. It has varying character widths, and it’s informed by real typographic insight and proportions so that it actually works as piece of functioning, harmonious type.”
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Fontsmith is a London based type design studio founded in 1999 by Jason Smith. The studio consists of a team dedicated to designing and developing high quality typefaces for both independent release as well as bespoke fonts for international clients. Fontsmith is a London based type design studio founded in 1999 by Jason Smith. The studio consists of a team dedicated to designing and developing high quality typefaces for both independent release as well as bespoke fonts for international clients.The Premium foundry page can be viewed at: https://www.myfonts.com/a/font/premium-font-collections/fontsmith%20-