FF Infras main characteristic are the open counters, which give the overall neutral letter forms a warm appearance. The idea of angled ending strokes was consequently passed on to letters like ‘f’ or ‘t’ to loosen up the static forms as well. Therefor FF Infra remains always inviting and friendly, while having a strong and clean personality – strengthened by the linear stroke and the generous x-height. This way, FF Infra can be used in a huge range of sizes and environments.
FF Infra was designed for daily and versatile tasks of designers. To be more flexible when it comes to emphasising important phrases, FF Infra features true small caps in addition to its italics. Alternate letterforms for ‘G’, ‘a’ and the German ‘ß’ let you adjust the general character. More typographical ‘@’ signs and a huge amount of alternate arrows let you play even more. For example tabular arrows, which have the same width as the tabular figures and fits perfect with either standard tabular figures or old style tabular figures. Of course today’s standard features, like superior lowercases or individual fractions, are implemented.
While the default figures are set slightly shorter than the cap height to not break out too much in running text, FF Infra comes with true capital figures, which work perfectly when setting capitals and figures for logo type.
Originally drawn under the name ‘Richter Grotesk’, FF Infra was started in 2014/2015 during Gabriel Richter’s Bachelor degree at the University of Applied Science Düsseldorf (Fachhochschule Düsseldorf), supervised by Daniel Fels and Andreas Uebele. The former FontFont typedesign department, consisting of Andreas Frohloff, Christoph Koeberlin and Jens Kutilek, gave additional feedback and in-depth type review.
The self formulated task was to create a linear grotesque in various styles, supporting various languages and functional symbols (German: ‘Konzeption, Entwurf und Entwicklung einer linearen Grotesk-Schrift in mehreren Schnitten, elementarem Sprachausbau und funktionalen Symbolen.’).
While finding the general character was straight forward, it was experimented a lot with functional extensions for the daily use of graphic designers, while fine-tuning the Bézier curves, spacing and kerning. Straight grotesque typefaces shouldn’t support small caps? Why not? Oldstyle figures don’t fit into modern style? Why not? Superior glyphs should only consist of lowercases? What about when diacritics appear in a name, which you want to set in superior? The following pictures give a short overview of the process of Richter Grotesk.
In the end, not all ideas made it into FF Infra, as file size is still an important factor when releasing a professional font. Thus, all grey coloured letters are just sketches, and not included in FF Infra.
Before going into detailed vector work, two extreme masters for the x-height were created to figure out the most appearing size, which fits the typeface the most. A generous x-height was chosen to remain a strong and legible character.
After setting the x-height, ending stroke variations and other details like a angled sporn at the ‘G’ were tested. All these ideas were just fancy adjustments, which doesn’t fit with the general neutral idea.
While the most parts are drawn really strict, the ending stroke in general is dynamic to get the most elegant angle, which doesn’t look too fat, thin or spiky. If it would have the same angled in all characters, they would look too strongly bended.
Even if FF Infra uses angled ending strokes, horizontally cut symbols were sketched to see if they work better with straight formats. The consequent use of angled ending strokes was chosen at last.
The already mentioned superior diacritics and uppercase might be handy for some designers, but in the end it’s easier to just scale a bolder style down for this very rare use case, as they would just blast up the file size too much, otherwise. That’s why FF Infra just supports lowercase superiors without diacritics.
Next to the alternate ‘G’, ‘a’ and ‘ß‘, a few other variations were tried out. All of the following sketches didn’t make it into FF Infra/Richter Grotesk, as they simply don’t fit into the form language, or don’t add another nuance to the typeface.
Figures Standard / True Capital Figures
Figures Tabular Standard / Oldstyle
Figures Small Caps
Punctation Standard / Small Caps
Punctation Case / Tabular
Currencies True Capital Form (SS04)
Currencies Small Caps
Symbols Standard / Small Caps
Math Standard / Small Caps
Huge Arrows (SS07)
Tabular Arrows (SS08)
Afar, Afrikaans, Albanian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Belarusian, Bislama, Bosnian, Breton, Catalan, Chamorro, Chichewa, Comorian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Faroese, Fijian, Filipino/Tagalog, Finnish, Flemish, French, Gaelic, Gagauz, German, Gikuyu, Gilbertese/Kiribati, Haitian-Creole, Hawaiian, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Javanese, Kashubian, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luba/Ciluba/Kasai, Luxembourgish, Malagasy, Malay, Maltese, Maori, Marquesan, Moldovan/Romanian, Montenegrin, Nauruan, Ndebele, Norwegian, Oromo, Palauan/Belauan, Polish, Portuguese, Quechua, Romanian, Romansh, Sami, Samoan, Sango, Serbian, Sesotho, Setswana, Seychellois-Creole, Swazi, Silesian, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Sorbian, Sotho, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tahitian, Tetum, Tok-Pisin, Tongan, Tsonga, Tswana, Turkish, Turkmen, Tuvaluan, Uzbek, Wallisian, Walloon, Welsh, Xhosa, Zulu
Typeface FF Infra
Designed by Gabriel Richter
Published in 2019
Huge thanks to Daniel Fels, Andreas Uebele, Andreas Frohloff, Christoph Koeberlin, Jens Kutilek and Inka Strotmann.
FF Infra is a trademark of Monotype.