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Typeface Review

FF Spinoza

Reviewed by Tânia Raposo on January 25, 2012

FF Spinoza first caught my attention with its beautiful, light-hearted Black Italic. When I got to look at the typeface as a whole, the successful alternation of hard and soft shapes throughout the whole family makes Spinoza a very fresh interpretation of classical text type principles.

The typeface has medium contrast, strong serifs, and angular cuts which derive from the broad nib construction. These cuts also serve as ink traps, helping it perform well even in small sizes. In the heavier weights, the details get more chunky and expressive, ideal for display settings. Its slightly increased x-height helps for better legibility and also for a more economical text setting, which are good features for magazine and book design.

FF Spinoza is the first venture into type design by Max Phillips. He states that completing Spinoza took 11 years of his life. Despite that astonishing figure I would say the time invested has paid off. And what a type designer learns in their first work they put into the projects that follow, so I think the next Phillips typeface will come quicker. I look forward to seeing more of his ideas.

Tânia Raposo is a graphic and type designer living in the beautiful island of Mallorca. Where she divides her heart between design and food. She studied at ESAD.CR Caldas da Rainha and KABK in The Hague, where she got her Type & Media Master’s degree.

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Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles with Caren Litherland and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

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