Fernhout is the new typeface inspired by a Wim Crouwel exhibition poster

The Foundry Types, an independent studio previously named The Foundry and known for its collaborations with Wim Crouwel, continues its artistic relationship with the legendary designer, who died in 2019, with the launch of a new font. Titled Fernhout, The Foundry Type’s directors David Quay and Stuart de Rozario present a display face based on the “simple primitive forms, rectangles and quarter-circles” of Wim Crouwel’s Edgar Fernhout exhibition poster and catalogue.
Although simple and playful, these basic forms raised challenges for the design duo, when it came to distilling key characteristics for Fernhout. “Crouwel’s carefully devised grid often allowed many glyphs to design themselves, but complex glyphs with diagonal strokes – ‘k, s, x, z, 2, 4, 5, 7’ – needed to be stripped back and simplified,” the studio explains. “Certain letterform characteristics threw up a few dilemmas – how to design an ‘i and j’ dot? So, we introduced another element – the square. This allowed a little more freedom to express the concept in a more refined way.”
The new Fernhout font is rooted in design solutions found in 1963, the year the Van Abbemuseum commissioned Crouwel for an exhibition on Dutch painter Edgar Fernhout. Crouwel’s “edgarfernhout” solution is where today’s Fernhout typeface gets its “primitive forms”; it featured a “rectangle block system, two columns wide and four oblongs tall, circled segments, and angled indentations,” according to the team at The Foundry Types.

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