Fatih Hardal is an Istanbul-based graphic designer. Known as Hardal, which translates to mustard, the designer recently created the gothic typeface FH Fraktur. The geometric letterforms are highly influenced by old architectural structures, drawing upon its “strong and elegant” characteristics that form the foundations of a successful building; which are similar to constructing a successful typeface.
“I wanted to create a modern character, inspired by the writings of the past,” Hardal tells It’s Nice That. “When the letters come together, they form a strong structure and the connected tails protect the whole letterform.” Though FH Fraktur is hardly functional with its challenging readability, it is nonetheless a rather beautiful alphabet. Its letterforms seemingly tessellate together to create a larger, architectural composition that could just as well be a repeating textiles pattern as much as a typeface.
Each letter consists of swooping, angled strokes with pointed edges at 45-degree angles, connected to scalpel-thin lines that follow on from the sharp angles. Though it wouldn’t seem awry amongst the most contemporary graphic designs today, FH Fraktur is rooted in a solid idea – both a technical and conceptual – allowing for a flexible application across a variety of outputs. The “S” in particular is a strikingly dynamic structure, playing on the way a calligraphic nib can shift between thicks and thins to accentuate a sense of 3-dimensional perspective.
It was while studying graphic design at Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts Graphic Design in Istanbul, that Hardal fell in love with typography. He describes the historic and calligraphic hand of Fraktur as “compatible with Helvetica” and states that “lettering design is the most fun activity [he’s] ever experienced.” Although his most recent creation is not the most legible of fonts, Hardal attributes his design in favour of “aestheticism and the gothic”. Its boldness is emphasised by a monochrome starkness, as the opposing colours cut into each other with razor-sharpness. “I think it pleases the eye and I think it’s fun”, adds the designer on the qualities of his new typeface.
“I know it’s hard to read”, Hardal continues, “but we have often encountered such characters in our time,” he adds, arguing that these often make a lasting impression through form over function. Despite his proclivity for conceptual type design, the tradition of the medium is not lost of Hardal. When asked about any plans to create something more legible, he reveals that his ultimate goal is to design a typeface to be used across Turkey’s signposts nationwide, which will hopefully take the form of some sort of sans serif.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.