My very first typefaces Sadness and Grimoire have just been published in new and revised versions at Myfonts. After the tragic end of the established Fountain Type Foundry I had to ask myself the following question: Is there still any justification for the existence of my 20 year old fonts?
by Felix Braden
Around the time of the millennium I founded the free font domain Floodfonts. I had just set up my own business with two friends, and to get press coverage and more exposure for our works, we decided to give away some of our type projects for free. We had hardly opened, when Peter Bruhn from Sweden asked us, if we would rather prefer to sell some of these fonts via Fountaintype. And of course we wanted to! Peter selected three of our ten fonts which we then extended to the standard character set of Fountain fonts. Peter supported us with corrections and helpful advice. For example he gave us a simple text document that I still use today – in an updated version – to do the kerning of all my typefaces. And after almost a year my typefaces Sadness and Grimoire were ready for release via Fountaintype. Unfortunately I met Peter only once, however I personally owe him very much, because he evoked the idea in me that type design could be much more than just a mere hobby.
After Peter's sudden and unexpected death last year, I had to ask myself how to handle the situation with my typefaces. In memory of her husband Lotta Bruhn, Peter’s wife, decided not to remove the site from the internet, but she did not want to continue to operate the business. I very much liked the idea to honor Peters life and work but Sadness and Grimoire were created while I was still a student and are now almost 20 years old. Is there still any justification for their existence?
If people ask me, why I am obsessed by type design, I always make the point that it is so timeless. The Garamond typefaces from the 16th century are the most frequently used book typeface today; transferring that fact to other design disciplines, would mean that we wear a plate or leather armor and ride to work in a horse-drawn carriage. The idea that a design concept could persist over 500 years is a source of extraordinary fascination for me. Now don't get me wrong: I do not want to compare those groundbreaking designs with my own fonts. But in type design, the clocks tick differently and in comparison with Garamond's persistence for over half a century those 20 years Grimoire and Sadness have been around are just a blink of the eye.
So I have decided to launch both aged fonts again with just slight adjustments. I do hope that people are still able to use them for highly contemporary design and I am curious how they will be incorporated.
Sadness is based on some experiments during my stay at the Trier College of Design: I played around with Fontographer’s blendfonts-feature (a type design tool to interpolate fonts and to minimize effort and expenditure of large families) with some files from a close designer. Since the basic elements derived from extremely varied fonts without any similarities, the concluding shapes first turned out to be rather fragmentary. From those fragments I chose the most characteristic elements and drew a whole new font.
Grimoire on the other hand combines two seemingly contradicting principles — calligraphic and constructive ideas — and makes them work together. The font is based on a modular system but simulates a handwritten typeface. I was so fascinated by this idea, that I have since designed a couple of typefaces following this principle, e.g. the psychedelic Bikini released by Volcanotype. Even my recent work, the multi awarded FF Scuba, is inspired by this concept, however with increasing age I have become less interested in experimental typography and more so in designing typefaces which are more versatile in use.
Both typefaces, Grimoire and Sadness, are available at Myfonts with a introductory discount of 80% until May 19th 2015. You will find detailed type specimens of both fonts at Behance.