Back story: British designer Rick Banks was working on a bespoke, corporate typeface for global branding agency Wolff Olins, when he took a more experimental route involving (warning, type design words ahead) flat, horizontal terminals, ascenders, and descenders. The crude designs were disregarded early in the process, but Banks saw potential, and later refined the typeface to make it less radical and more user-friendly. F37 Bolton was born.
A modern Swiss-style sans serif, its clean form was inspired by German typographer Günter Gerhard Lange. “I’ve always loved his work,” says Banks. “He released Schoolbook in 1982 after redrawing Akzidenz-Grotesk. He took a classic, Swiss-style sans serif and inserted quirky characters. The capital ‘I,’ for example, looks more like a ‘J.’ In the same way, I wanted to create a modern, Swiss-style sans serif, but with a quirky twist.”
Why’s it called F37 Bolton? Banks has form when it comes to naming his typefaces. His award-winning, Didot-inspired beauty F37 Bella was named after his wife, while F37 Ginger gives a nod to the designer’s hair color. F37 Bolton, he says, is dedicated to the UK town in which he grew up.
“I name all my fonts after something that’s personal to me,” he explains. “It gives me a platform to create playful graphics and inject some humor—a reaction against the often dry ‘type world.’”
What are its distinguishing characters? F37 Bolton achieves its quirky twist with distinctive flat, horizontal ascenders and descenders, seen particularly in the a, f, g, l, q, and y letterforms, and the family’s alternative characters. Available in OpenType and Webfont formats, there are eight weights and 256 glyphs.
What should I use it for? F37 Bolton works well at all sizes, from large display type to small body copy, making it a true workhorse. It’s particularly well-suited to branding, logo design, packaging, and corporate literature, including annual reports and brochures. “I’m especially interested in people using it for web,” says Banks. “It looks super nice on a Retina screen.”
Who’s it friends with? F37 Bolton’s classical proportions pair well with modern serifs. Try Bodoni or Klim Type Foundry’s Tiempos. As a supporting font, it’ll work with any display type. “I’d love to see it with Dala Moa by Commercial Type or Muir Mcneil’s Cut,” says Banks. “Those beautiful typefaces really compliment the graphic nature of F37 Bolton.”