Back when it launched four years ago, Studio Feixen – the now-revered design studio based in Lucerne, Switzerland – designed a font for all its studio communications. Titled Studio Feixen Sans Black, and described by the studio’s Felix Pfäffli as “simple and geometric” but with “a friendly and slightly naive feeling”, it was built as a typographic way to visualise the studio’s output. But, and this is the case for pretty much everything the studio put out, the font became highly admired by designers, who often reached out hoping to purchase it. It was an opportunity the studio never offered – until recently. Studio Feixen Fonts is here!
Described by the studio as a “so-called typeface superfamily”, Studio Feixen Fonts is a typeface available in brilliantly considered, variant ways. “Simply put,” says Felix, it’s “a font that has a lot of cuts and can change its character within the family.” This family is made up of several different-sized components, offering designers both a sans and serif, as well as what the studio describes as a writer which “looks like a monospace font”, a display cut called edgy, and, “for fun, two additional variable cuts too, which allows you to play with the width of the font.”
When it came to the font’s aesthetics, the studio kept its own tastes and needs front of mind. “The main idea behind this font was, on the one hand, we had to define our own language,” Felix explains. “At the same time, we had this idea of a family that simplifies our design process.”
So, the myriad options answer many questions a designer might have when choosing a typeface. “Should it be simple in one cut? Sans? Or Serif?” Felix asks. “These questions are easy to check within this system.” Its look and feel mirror this sense of simplicity too, with the designer describing the font superfamily as having “a contemporary feeling, without being over-designed and loud,” he says. “Our designs are already asking for a lot of attention... We needed a font which is able to accompany our designs without competing with them, and without being boring. We needed a font that looks clean and friendly. As if it already existed.”
Creating a font from scratch is no easy task, however, and Felix and his team had to constantly make decisions about each and every detail. For instance, an initial decision was that the font should follow “very strict and simple rules,” he tells us. “The stem width, for example, is always the same except for the rare moments when it would be ugly to follow the rule.” This example also reflects Studio Feixen’s ethos as a whole: “That’s one of the core principals of our studio. Make strong rules but don’t follow them blindly. We are designers and if we see something that looks weird, we have to react and find a solution.”
Font fanatics will notice this flair in the tiny details too, such as “some humour in the tails” of the small “y” or “g”, in comparison to its uppercase sibling which is more geometric. Or, even the difference in styles between its writer and edgy cut. The first is a font which, although appearing like a monospace, “is less mathematical when it comes to the letter spacing.” Felix points out: “We like to have this option in our designs for the moments when you want something to look well organised and slightly old fashioned.”
On the other hand, the edgy edition displays an opposite approach, purposefully “special, awkward and contemporary without losing its roots”, he says. “To find the right language here, we made about ten contemporary different fonts with different approaches, just to find the right temperature. It includes several surprising letters and it’s designed to be used BIG.” Now available for the design community to utilise, Felix says Studio Feixen has no expectations for how their work may be used. “But I’m really looking forward to seeing what people do with it,” he says. “I really hope people will send us their work.”
In being so purposefully versatile, the possibilities of how others, or even the studio itself, may use the font are endless. “Of course, I have my own ideas of how you can use this font family. And I know that the font has a lot of interesting sides and can be used in various ways. I see it animated. I see a magazine being super playful and surprising without changing the font family. I see posters or opening pages in a magazine using the edgy cut, or the serif in uppercase. But I also see the font simply accompanying bold design without distracting from it.” Finally, Felix concludes: “The stuff I dream of is to be surprised by the ideas of other people on how this font could be used.”
GalleryThe Studio Feixen Superfamily
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.