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Graphic Collisions™

FS Split — A new experimental typeface by independent boutique type foundry, Fontsmith.

We’ve been working with the super-talented team at Fontsmith who approached us to help them launch their new experimental typeface. The brief — 'To name the new sans/serif typeface and create a graphic and pure type campaign to launch it’. 

FS Split Sans & Serif are a duo of very interesting typefaces, as it’s like the whole thing was drawn with different implements. It has a number of little quirks; the italics are super italic (at an 18 degree angle), proportions are odd with narrow straight characters and wider circular characters. The font terminals loop, they finish sharp, finish flat and there is a contradiction amongst the design that creates a friction and emotive energy. 

With that in mind we wanted to tackle this brief by looking at themes of duality - looking at polar opposites both in the naming and the approach to the specimen. We created this idea of graphic collisions™, a kind of split personality - type idea - super graphic, not pretty but with lots of attitude and energy (hence the name FS Split Sans/FS Split Serif)!


‘From the outset this typeface duo was intended to be a bit odd in proportions and a bit “wrong” in traditional type design terms. I wanted to push the design oddities and balance the quirks with the quality of the type.

‘When it came to choosing a partner to help us communicate the essence of the fonts, we immediately thought Studio.Build would be a good fit. From the first meeting I knew Michael understood where I was coming from with the “ugly beautiful” thing. He got it. They developed the narrative around a core graphic idea from the name Split.

‘Working with Michael was so easy and I got a little glimpse of the artistry behind pure raw graphic design. Michael was evolving the colours, design, words and layouts as his organic design process progressed right up until we went to print. I love working with creatives like that. Proper energy and enthusiasm.' — Jason Smith, Fontsmith founder.


The end result was a 48pp tabloid newspaper - showcasing these 'graphic collisions' as a series of intentional clashes - there are wonderful moments where the spreads collide together creating tension, a nod to the idiosyncratic nature of the font itself. 

Looking disparate and archaic when reading as a traditional newspaper, the specimen opens out to single spreads to match the idea of a split personality. 

Packaged with an A3 print in a clear biodegradable bag - keep a look out for the FS type specimen - landing on your desks this week!

Type design — Fernando Mello & Jason Smith 
Typeface naming — Studio.Build
Type specimen design — Studio.Build

See the full project on our site here.

Seek Beauty in Ugliness.