London-based graphic design studio A Practice for Everyday Life has launched its own type foundry, kicking off with four retail typefaces and a bespoke type design service. The APFEL Type Foundry is a fitting evolution of the studio founded by Kirsty Carter and Emma Thomas in 2003, as type has always been a core part of its output – exemplified in identities and signage for exhibitions as well as a long list of publications.
Starting a separate foundry allows the team to continue its typographic research “untethered” from the “limited lifespan of a single project” and make its research, both in the context of a commission and a self-initiated project, available for other designers to use in their own work.
The foundry’s first four retail typefaces are Certeau, influenced by geometric modernist monoline type and 1930s Dutch and German sans serif designs; Periferia, which draws from aesthetics of rubber-stamping and movable type printing; Remnants, a condensed design with “choppy angles and elongated monoline serifs,” developed from an example of display type found on an old Serbian book cover; and Lining, a contemporary interpretation of a typeface from 1897, with squared angles that “hint at a mechanical influence”.
APFEL says the bespoke service offers commissions for typeface design, logotype design and custom cuts of APFEL typefaces. The team says its overall design approach in the past has been “underpinned by an understanding of how bespoke type design can contribute uniquely communicative layers of meaning within a project, as references from everyday research are recontextualised, developed and incorporated to become integral within a design”.
“We have an extensive and growing library of typefaces within the studio that we have developed ourselves,” Thomas tells It’s Nice That, “and recently, we reached a point of critical mass in the studio when we felt the time was right to create a new, fully resolved and considered venue for this type design work as an integral part of our activities as a studio.”
“Through the Foundry we are speaking to a new audience in a way,” she continues, “so we're excited to see how this might inform our future work as graphic designers and type designers, though we're keen to maintain a strong connection between our project-based work and our type design; these two practices are in constant dialogue with one another within the studio.”
Carter adds: “We're hoping this is both an expansion and an evolution of our practice – it will give us a more resolved outlet for the type design we undertake as a studio outside of a project context, as well as celebrating the work we've already done within this discipline so far.”
To mark the launch, APFEL has published Type as Readymade, a publication featuring an essay by the studio exploring “the implications of the relationship between research, visual reference, the cultural concept of the everyday, and type design in context,” as well as specimens of the first four retail typefaces. It has also released a series of A4 specimen posters.
Each typeface is available for licensing for desktop, web and app use, with trial versions available to download from the foundry’s website.
GalleryAPFEL Type Foundry
APFEL Type Foundry: Lining