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New Gestalten Font: Forbury

By Peter Graabæk from Denmark
Posted by Gestalten—03/2015

Forbury is a contemporary, super-clean typeface. It was inspired by Peter Graabæk’s measurement of the curves featured in the older typefaces that he used most in his design work: Helvetica, Univers, Akzidenz Grotesk, and others. Freed from any form of peculiarity in the letter shapes, Forbury’s uniform structure makes it appealing for graphic design professionals and anyone who finds Helvetica too omnipresent. Read our interview with designer Peter Graabæk about the creative process behind Forbury:

What is your favorite tool in the design process?
Fontographer is a long-time favorite of mine. So simple and unbloated – and with very elegant Bézier curve handling.However, future versions are said to be merely scaled down FontLab Studio software, so that’s probably the end of that.

What turns you on creatively?
The rush I get from finding an unknown path to a perfect, bold design solution that makes all pieces seemingly fall into place.

What is your favorite design or art work?
I love the style of the modernist movement of the 1960-80s. I am fascinated with the simple, no-bullshit kind of logo style that was fashionable at that time. That’s probably brought about by my early childhood memories of giant gas station signs, etc.

What aesthetics, forms, or colors do you hate?
I struggle a bit with the contemporary aesthetics of displaying graphic design, in which piles of stationery in a strict grid are spiced up with a few fancy colored pencils, scissors, paperclips, etc. The end result is usually beautiful pictures with much style but very little design.

What if there was no typography or design on earth. What would you do then?
I would be a kind and well-respected sensei in a small, traditional Okinawan karate club trying to balance my empty mind, empty hands, and brutal physical strength.

Where did you find the inspiration for Forbury?
Awhile ago I came across a tool for measuring superellipses. I immediately began measuring everything around me, including the curves of the typefaces that I use the most in my design work, such as Helvetica, Univers, Akzidenz Grotesk, Neuzeit S., and others. I wanted to understand exactly which superellipses were chosen for the outer and inner shapes of these popular older typefaces. Out of this examination emerged the desire to draw a contemporary, super-clean typeface with less variation in the curves than I had found among the older fonts. Basically, I constructed an average value for the superellipses in the lowercase letters of a, c, e, o, and s and did the entire typeface design around that curve. I later learned by chance that this exact superellipse (with the exponent of 2.5) was made famous in the 1960s by the poet, scientist, and designer Piet Hein (1905-1996). He dealt in great detail with this particular shape, which he described as strangely satisfying.

Where does the name come from?
Forbury is an area near a monastery ruin in the town of Reading in the UK. It’s the very place I began work on this typeface.

Where do you see the creative potential of Forbury?
In designing the typeface Forbury, my only objective was to create a typeface that I would use myself as a graphic designer. Only when I began using the almost finished typeface did I realize that the effort I put into forming uniform shapes had, in fact, resulted in a typeface with a unique character that could justify a commercial release. My hope is that this typeface family will appeal to professionals in the graphic design industry, like myself, and to anyone who finds Helvetica too “exotic.” :)

Where do you relate your typeface historically?
1966. What a year! The superellipse was at the peak of its popularity with Piet Hein on the cover of the magazine Life.

What else should be said about Forbury?
Go and buy it! Or maybe consider it a bit first.

Featuring four weights with corresponding italics, this font is suitable for use in both display and running text.
Click here to test and puchase Forbury.

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