Independent Type Foundry Advent Calendar – Day 20: Frere-Jones Type

Tobias Frere-Jones is one of the most accomplished type designers in the world. He worked at Font Bureau in Boston where he designed modern classics like Benton Sans or Interstate. He later returned to his hometown New York City and, at Hoefler & Frere-Jones, created timeless designs like Whitney and Gotham. Then, in 2015, Tobias founded his own company, Frere-Jones type. A year later, he was joined by Nina Stössinger, who, just like Tobias, teaches type design at Yale School of Art.

The library of Frere-Jones Type is small but exquisite, with all typefaces being designed with intention, care, and a lot of attention to detail. A few highlights:

Mallory was the first release of the foundry and Tobias’s take on combining his own mixed heritage, being part British part American, into a geometric but relaxed type family.

Exchange is a sturdy, compact, and clear serif that started as a commission for The Wall Street Journal and was revised and extended for the retail release.

Magnet is an energetic and surprising sans-serif family, designed by Inga Plönnigs. Tightly packed headline cuts – including backslanted versions – are combined with standard styles that are quieter but still intriguing with their deeply cut notches and unusual details.

Community Gothic, designed by Tobias Frere-Jones, Fred Shallcrass, and Nina Stössinger, is a patchwork family, inspired by the sans serif “jobbing” typefaces of the nineteenth century. Each style draws from different historical examples, leading to different shapes and different construction styles of the individual weights that were then finely tuned into a system that has a common, reliable base but allows each glyph to deviate from the norm to a certain extent.

Also make sure to read some of the blog posts that meticulously document the design of each release. Each is a little type design lesson on its own.

Screenshot Community Gothic 4
Screenshot Community Gothic 3
Screenshot Community Gothic 2
Screenshot Community Gothic
Screenshot Magnet 2
Screenshot Magnet
Screenshot Exchange 2
Screenshot Exchange
Screenshot Mallory 2
Screenshot Mallory
Screenshot Frere-Jones website

This post is part of the Independent Type Foundry Advent Calendar 2022


5 Webmentions

Photo of @frerejonestype
Frere-Jones Type is on Mastodon — @frerejones and here: @frerejonestype — but so far, probably doing too much interesting things to start posting.
Photo of Pablo Lara H
Pablo Lara H
🎄; Independent Type Foundry Advent Calendar Day 20: Frere-Jones Type @frerejones #adventcalendar #design #typedesign #typefoundries #typography by Matthias Ott @m_ott…