Our weekly look at a favorite new typeface. Share yours with us on Twitter and Instagram @AIGAdesign with #TypeTuesday.
Name: FS Untitled
Designer: Jason Smith
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Back story: FS Untitled started out in 2005 as a proprietary design for the UK’s Channel Four, and now that the terms of the license have expired the typeface has been reengineered for a wider audience. Fontsmith developed an infinitely adjustable typeface for digital screens with very fine calibrations of weight to minimize reliance on font hinting and keep the letterforms sharp at all sizes. “However valid hinting is,” says Fontsmith founder Jason Smith, “it’s irrelevant if the design isn’t fit for its purpose or the weights aren’t effective on certain background colors or images, or at certain sizes.”
Why’s it called FS Untitled? “With such a range of weights, personalities, and possible applications, from apps to websites to digital billboards, the family was never going to sit comfortably under a single specific name. ‘FS Untitled’ was the only solution,” says Matthew Rudd of The Space Between who, together with design partner Steve Jones, designed a unique website (more on that below!) for the project launch.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? FS Untitled comes in 12 weights (and is drawn with two versions of each weight—double the options!) for maximum flexibility and versatility, giving designers and developers precise typographic control. It owes its pixel friendliness to a blend of nearly flat horizontals and verticals with slightly open, curved corners inspired by what Rudd and Jones call “the classic cartoon TV shape of a squidgy rectangle.” The 12 weight pairs have each been given a number from 100 (thin) to 750 (bold), mirroring the system by type design grandaddy Adrian Frutiger to classify his Univers font family, used here to reflect the font weight numbering in CSS code.
What should I use it for? All things digital. To get an idea of the range of possibilities, check out the wonderfully distracting Digital Playground created by Rudd and Jones. Each weight is given an interactive specimen sheet and four different activity zones. In each zone the word Untitled is replaced with a description of the scene like ‘FS Zombie,’ ‘FS Alchemist,’ etc. Rudd says, “We worked hard to create many different kinds of typographic execution. All scenes are interactive—for example, FS Zombie is a fully functioning arcade game and FS Alchemist takes the user from lead to gold via every letter in the alphabet.” Warning: may be habit forming.
Who’s it friends with? Who isn’t it friends with? With this many options, designers can find something to pair well with nearly any other typeface choice.