Introducing FF Spinoza

Max Phillips's picture

After 11 years, my first text typeface has finally been released into the wild. FF Spinoza was designed to be an elegant workhorse: crisp, sturdy, economical, and versatile. A classic and highly readable Antiqua, it has compact proportions and a generous, though not exaggerated, x-height and aperture. Robust thin strokes and pronounced serifs and terminals make it suitable for setting in small sizes under challenging conditions, both in print and on the Web. Abruptly tapered junctures keep characters sharply defined and, in the heavier weights, create enlivening light traps. Its curves are subtly faceted, with extra corners and unexpectedly straight edges that add interest in display sizes and energy in text sizes. FF Spinoza includes a comprehensive set of diacritics providing support for more than 70 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu. The Pro version supports more than 130 languages.

Available at FontFont.
Download a specimen booklet here.

dhannah1000's picture

Great work, Max. I love it!

Max Phillips's picture

Thanks, Danny!

BrettR's picture

Looks incredible, the "b" and "k" look very slick.
Good work!

Trevor Baum's picture

Bravo, Max! It reminds me a bit of Akira Kobayashi's FF Clifford and Fred Smeijers' Renard.

eliason's picture


Nick Shinn's picture

Well yeah, anyone could make a typeface this good if they spent eleven years on it :-)

riccard0's picture

Strange contrast on the z!

Nick Shinn's picture

Max is in good company; Goudy was fond of that treatment.

Max Phillips's picture

Many thanks for the generous words, everyone.

Trevor: You're putting me in very exalted company. I think Clifford and Renard are two of the most beautiful book faces of the last 20 years.

Nick Shinn: Coming from you, that's a very great compliment.

Nick & riccard0: Georg Trump also used the reversed-stress z for his Trump Mediaval, which was probably the biggest influence on Spinoza. For what it's worth, Andreas Frohloff at FontFont suggested a more conventional z, and actually drew quite a beautiful one, but agreed to use my orginal glyph when I told him it was important to me. I owe Andreas a lot; he put a great deal of work and care into Spinoza, as did Ugla Marekowa, Ivo Gabrowitsch, Frank Grießhammer, and Christoph Koeberlin at FSI.

dezcom's picture

Great work, Max!!!

Nick Shinn's picture

Coming from you, that's a very great compliment.

Well, I was kind of poking fun at you for taking so long, but I certainly appreciate that it can take ages to produce such a thorough, large work. And large seems to be a requirement of a text type these days. Of course, it was ever thus, but large today is way larger than in the past.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

This must have been wonderful 11 years.

Herzlichen Glückwunsch!
A. St.

And now start making the Greek parts. Another enchanting 11 …

Nick Shinn's picture

It takes all kinds.
I have just about finished teaching a semester of type design to a class of third year design students, many of whom have had great difficulty in being able to concentrate sufficiently on the work, having to check Facebook every few minutes. However, one student told me she had really enjoyed the course, finding it very pleasant and relaxing. I live for such moments.

Max Phillips's picture

Nick: I kind of got that you were teasing me a bit for being slow, but I'm hoping you also meant it when you called the typeface good. Since I haven't had any training in type design, I'd guess I spent about nine of those 11 years bumbling around in circles, trying to teach myself the basics. The design itself probably took about two of those years, once I'd run out of ways to do things wrong. Just trying to design a companion italic with near-horizontal departures, to match the roman's horizontal departures, took a lot more time than I want to think about. Once I threw that out and started from scratch with an italic that felt right instead of one that matched my preconceived notions, the actual italic only took a few months. But I'm hoping the next typeface won't take a decade.

Andreas: Thanks! I did have a good time. And I'd love to add Greek language support, and Cyrillic, too. But first I've got to sell a few downloads, just so I know this isn't just a really time-consuming hobby...

Nick Shinn's picture

I'm hoping you also meant it when you called the typeface good.


Since I haven't had any training in type design…

Like many of us who were in business prior to KABK and Reading coming on the scene about 10 years ago.

TomvB's picture

Loving the italics version of the &, especially in combination with the Regular SC set!

Max Phillips's picture

Thanks for the kind words, Tom & Chris.

Matheus D.'s picture

Beautiful work, Max! It would be interesting to see a "Spinoza Sans" out of this! I'm loving it! As much as I love Scala and Scala Sans, to me, on the top five personal typeface favourites!

hrant's picture

I like the "S".


eliason's picture

I'm intrigued by the oldstyle zero stress and the italic tittles.

Max Phillips's picture

Thanks again, everyone.

I'd love to do a sans companion, Matheus, and have been noodling with some sketches. And I'm a great admirer of Scala; it was definitely one of the faces on my mind when I was designing Spinoza.

The little corner on the spine of the S is something I'd wanted to do for a long time, Hrant.

Eliason, I don't remember any more where I got the idea of the reversed stress oldstyle zero, but probably from Stempel Garamond, another inspiration. The italic tittles came out of a conversation with Andreas at FSI. My original tittle was a three-cornered version of the four-cornered tittles in the roman. Andreas at first recommended making the itals more genuinely calligraphic—more like a Minion Italic—and suggested a tittle that could be drawn with an edged pen. When I said I didn't want a purely calligraphic ital, he suggested I go in the other direction, and make the tittle very clearly non-calligraphic. So I came up with this, with the hard straight leading edge. I like it better than my first idea.

Gary Lonergan's picture

This is a great typeface. I'm numb with jealousy.

Max Phillips's picture

Thanks, Gary.

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