Arne Freytag, born in 1997, began his studies at the Alsterdamm School of Visual Arts in Hamburg and became interested in font design. He completed his studies in Paris at the “Atelier National de Création Typographique”. Arne Freytag has been working as a freelance graphic designer since 2000, and has published the fonts Quitador, Curve, Manometer and Linotype Freytag, among others.
In a Linotype.com exclusive, Arne Freytag presents his favorite fonts and explains why the selected designs fascinate him.
Arne Freytag: “What are my favorite fonts?”
There are a few “timeless” classics that I always like, and then there are my temporarily favorite fonts. Partly because of the ever-changing zeitgeist, but also because the way I look at fonts is always changing. New observations and findings let me look at fonts differently; it is a continuous, ongoing process.
I can’t manage with a maximum of ten fonts, and I’m not of the opinion that one or just a few fonts can express everything. I’m more for variety when it comes to fonts. The typographic needs of projects can be very specific and different, and the areas of application are changing and expanding constantly.
A typeface that is meant to be legible for people and machines.
It has a technical‚ structured feel and forms that are unconventional‚ to a certain extent. However‚ the type design can be used for more than just forms and check cards. In the 1990s‚ OCR-A was an exciting alternative for Neville Brody’s design for the theater in Hamburg precisely because of its technical appearance.
I especially like OCR A Tribute‚ the refined version of the typeface that provides a proportional version instead of monospace.
(Originally designed in 1968 by Adrian Frutiger for automatic text recognition, the striking forms of OCR-A later won a permanent place in the hearts of designers. Miriam Röttgers designed OCR A Tribute in 2006, a version with typographic optimizations.)
DIN also has an industrial design. For me‚ there is something timeless and universal about it. It was designed during a period of a lot of experimentation with geometrical fonts. These in some cases extremely conceptual attempts to design new alphabets still fascinate me. They were also the reason for the development of Linotype Freytag.
FF DIN by Albert-Jan Pool‚ an adaptation and extension of the DIN 1451‚ shaped me during my college years and I use it still with fondnesst‚ precisely because of its strict‚ but finely sophisticated geometry.
(The first versions of a standardized font “for labeling railway vehicles” came about at the start of the 20th century. DIN 1451, which came out in 1931, was derived from these. The font is still in use today on highway signs, for example. Albert-Jan Pool created FF DIN in 1995, expanding DIN 1451 and its geometric and somewhat stencil-like forms – very popular among designers – into a typographically complete family.)
Akko lies somewhere in between. Between geometric‚ strict and organic‚ soft and friendly. The spurless a‚ m‚ n‚ u‚ for example … and the slight bulges in the diagonals reinforce the soft character and give it momentum. The impression is even stronger in the heavier weights.
(After a long break, Monotype Type Director Akira Kobayashi published a new typeface of his own in 2011, Akko. With its clear, easily legible and modern forms, the well-equipped Akko captivates at first sight.)
Sinova‚ with its dynamic rhythm‚ is a beautiful and fresh alternative to other humanist sans serifs for me.
It lies perhaps somewhere between Syntax and Frutiger and has a pleasant‚ unobtrusive and harmonious appearance that allows a wide range of applications for me. A special feature is the U‚ its form reminds me of a spurless u.
(Reduced letterforms and a very large x-height not only lend Christian Mengelt’s Sinova from 2011 a unique character, but also ensure that the font is perfectly legible, even in the smaller font sizes.)
The design of a typeface can be influenced or even inspired by technology. Charter BT was optimized for the low-resolution laser printers back then. Fewer curves and details‚ no horizontal or vertical deviations as much as possible. This lends the font a certain rigor‚ makes it sharp and precise – and nonetheless elegant. I like the striking line ends of a‚ f and j‚ in particular.
(Matthew Carter designed Charter BT 1987 for use on low-resolution devices. The font is based on the Renaissance Antiqua.)
Swift was also a product of technical circumstances‚ developed as the new‚ resilient newspaper font‚ meant to counteract the low quality of newsprint.
Stressed openings and relatively high x-heights help in this regard. The strong serifs nearly recall a slab serif‚ and result in clear‚ closed word images. In fact‚ all fonts from Gerard Unger are among my favorites.
(The solid newspaper font Swift was published by Gerard Unger in 1989. The font, trimmed for legibility, draws attention to itself with its striking, almost cone-shaped serifs.)
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