Our initial research led to a specimen produced by the Fann Street Foundry held at St. Brides, London. The Fann Street Foundry stood on its site in Fann Street, London EC1, from 1802. The originator of Clarendon (1845), the foundry provided a plethora of metal typefaces for use in a wide range of applications. Fast-forwarding to the modern day, Fann Street, London is now a side street, linked to the Barbican Estate. One of the UKs most iconic piece of Brutalist architecture.
⁕ Cover of the Fann Street Foundry Specimen from and with thanks to St Brides Library, London
The specific reference from the Fann Street Foundry Specimen included a set of ‘floral’ italics that we decided to start the design process with. Italics are usually designed in succession to the roman styles however our approach to Fann was somewhat left field — as it is the italics that drove and dictated the overarching direction of the family.
⁕ Fann Regular showing contrast between Proportional & Italics — Top: Fann Grotesque Regular / Bottom: Fann Grotesque Regular Italic
Generally, the approaches for drawing italics for a type family, can be split into two distinct approaches:
A) Obliques; slanted versions of the upright styles with minor optical adjustments.
B) True Italics; separate designs that are complementary to the upright styles and can sometimes reference cursive style.
To give definition, we opted to give Fann Grotesque further dynamic by offering true italics. For a sans serif design, unusually cursive inspired Italics were chosen.
By no means a revival Fann Grotesque becoming its own entity, where, we used the notion of The Fann Street Letter Foundries’ intriguing ideas as a catalyst to develop our own designs. The calligraphic forms combined with the extreme 16° angle create a dramatically different texture to the upright styles, contrary to the option of subtle obliques.