Any morning where Fontsmith release a new typeface is a good morning.
Designed by Stuart de Rozario, with a little creative direction from Fontsmith’s founder and creative director Jason Smith, and rolling out in every format you could ever long for – light, book, regular, medium, semibold, bold with italics – FS Benjamin was inspired by the constant contrasts that London throws up on every street corner.
More than just another font to consider when it comes to pinging off a thank you letter to your grandmother after the arrival of a very thoughtful WH Smith voucher to mark your birthday, the FS Benjamin launch is bolstered by a limited edition 12” record, and a large-format unbound booklet.
“The experiential approach comes to us naturally, and we felt excited to bring that perspective to the campaign in a relevant and immersive way,” Aporva Baxi, co-founder of DixonBaxi. “The clash of people, cultures, and energy which makes London so unique is hugely inspiring. And it was this diversity, contrast and eclectic quality that we wanted to capture."
Aporva goes on to say that “a year in the making, the typeface needed a unique story to make it distinct from the thousands of fonts out there, but in a new way that challenged any preconceptions of how a serif font like this can be used. It was partly the reason Fontsmith came to us. To approach the launch in an unexpected way and create a modern context for the typeface, rooted in an idea rather than a classic type-specimen, of which designers have seen countless times.”
The typeface’s accompanying musical companion, Sounds of London, was the result of the entire DixonBaxi team roaming London for weeks on end capturing a vast array of sounds, noises, and conversational snippets. “The field recordings and remixed audio tracks give texture and context, and alongside the booklet, help to place the typeface in the city, albeit in an abstracted way,” Aporva says.
When it comes to the booklet, the decision to scale up and present a large format product was an attempt to “reflect the scale and energy of London and to side-step the feeling of the traditional type-specimen. The design of the pages is intentionally expressive and intuitive using type as image. Inspired by the sounds, as well as snippets of conversation, the spreads work together but also contrast each other. Each page is almost like a billboard poster that has peeled and frayed or has been layered with new ones over time.”
FS Benjamin is available now.