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Stag Sans Round
FF Meta Headline
FF Meta Serif
FF Unit Slab
Neutraface No. 2
Neue Haas Grotesk
2004. Released by Font Bureau.
I designed this face based on work by Johannes Fleischman, a german punchcutter who worked for the Enschedé Foundry in Haarlem, Holland in the mid-to-late 1700s. Truly part of the transistion from oldstyle (i.e. Garamond) to modern (i.e. Bodoni) Fleischman's romans are remarkable for their energy and "sparkle" on the page, as he took advantage of better tools and harder steel to push the limits of how thin strokes could get. The stress on the curves is a mix of vertical and angled - still an unusual combination today and another reason why the type appears so active. His serifs are an odd mix of wedge-shaped and rectangular, as dictated by where the characters needed additional weight.
In the 1800s, Fleischman's work fell into obscurity as tastes changed, but interest was renewed in the 1990s as digital revivals were designed by Matthew Carter, the Hoefler Type Foundry, and the Dutch Type Library, each focusing on a different aspect of the source material. I think the DTL version is the most faithful to the source, leaving the bumps and quirks inherent to metal type untouched. I've taken the opposite approach, using the source material as a starting point and trying to design a very contemporary text face that uses the basic structure and character of Fleischman without duplicating features that I found outdated, distracting, or unattractive (i.e. the extra "spikes" on the capital E and F, or the form of the y). I kept the combination of serif styles because i thought it made the uppercase more cohesive (with the wedge-shaped serifs that were already on the E F S C, etc.), but gave the lowercase a cleaner look, and the wedge-shapen "head serifs" on characters like n, b, and h visually relate the uppercase and lowercase. Farnham Italic is a true cursive, in the spirit of the original, but like the roman it has been simplified, sharpened and made more contemporary.
Farnham popped up in several magazine redesigns before its official release. The first and most notable was Michael Lawton's retooling of Men's Journal just before he left the design director job there.
The display (top) and text (bottom) versions differ most obviously in the italic. Farnahm Text Italic has a more conventional set of caps and slightly more incline. The text version is also generally more open, with slightly less contrast, and some of the finer details have been taken out for the sake of clarity.
I think the swash caps are by far the most interesting part of this family, even if they probably won't be used all that much. They draw equal inspiration from a handful of swash caps cut by Fleischman, Caslon's swash caps, and the so-ugly-they're-brilliant swashes I grew up seeing in ITC and Photolettering faces.
Display size in Light, Regular, Medium, Bold and Black weights, with italics and small caps, plus Swash Italic for Regular weight. Text size in Regular, Semibold and Bold weights, with italics and small caps.