FF Avance

Indices : Typefaces : FF Avance

Evert Bloemsma, 2003

Official FontFont Description
The most striking characteristic of Evert Bloemsma's new typeface FF Avance™ is the use of asymmetrical serifs in the Roman weights, something we're only used to seeing in an italic. Upper as well as lower case letters have serifs in the upper left and lower right corners, remnants as it were of the connection between hand-written letters. In Bloemsma's earlier family FF Cocon™ these relics of handwriting were left away entirely. With Avance he rediscovers* the expressive qualities of such details which emphasize the movement and direction of reading.

Bloemsma's interest in contemporary design made it difficult for him initially to consider drawing a face with serifs. He has this to say about them: "The serif has many purposes and possible origins, and it took some time before I felt ready to handle this item. The serif may carry a burden of outdated conventions, so applying serifs is risky when trying to avoid the swamp of traditions. Some aspects related to the use of serifs:

Ornament/Decoration
Symmetry is found in all kinds of shapes. Often it seems to express balance, security, and certainty. This static monumentality does not really belong in our present world.

Calligraphy
A serif could be seen as a remainder of the movement of the hand in writing. But is writing - and especially broad-nib calligraphy - still a valid inspiration? Think about how much we really write in daily life. Much text is produced using the computer's keyboard. Soon, when speech recognition is actually feasible, the amount of hand-written text will be even less. The self-evidence with which many type designers use writing as their main inspiration is not that self-evident anymore. On the other hand it will be difficult to invent another convincing foundation. No other design discipline relies so heavily on habit and therefore on convention as type design. In the case of FF Avance™ a solution can be found in the design itself.

A finishing touch.
We sometimes seem to be afraid of an open end, just like that, plain. There is some psychological desire for a clearly delineated border between something and nothing. In the case of letterforms this would be the end of a curve or a stem.

On the other hand some interesting properties of serifs which could improve the typographic appearance:

  • A more regular word image
  • The eye guided along the line
  • The overall image of text could be more pleasant because serifs can bring more differentiation of forms, a wider spectrum of forms.
  • An expression of dynamic movement, a stream of thoughts. Reading is moving.

Serious contemporary typography should strive for transparent expression and prevent itself from building facades that disguise. Revivals of ancient masterpieces have a limited value. Their superb qualities should find new means of expression, no matter how hard it will be to capture a similar refinement."

* More respectful to Bloemsma's intentions and philosophy would be to use a term such as "repurposes".

External Links
FF Avance at FontShop
Bloemsma Interview with Jon Coltz

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