FF Meta, almost wasn’t

This will be brief, as it concerns a fairly recently released typeface.  FF Meta was originally commissioned in 1985, but wasn’t released until 1991.  Erik Spiekermann was working on a new typeface for the West German Post Office, but things fell through.  (Just for some perspective of social/political temperature in Germany, the Berlin Wall wasn’t torn down until 1989.) He was designing type that would be used as part of a broader identity package, and this particular set would have been used in limited, small point print.  FF Meta wasn’t intended for large bodies of copy, as most san serif typefaces aren’t.  The design has become a favorite among designers as an alternative to Helvetica. It offers simple, condensed type, and I personally find that is has more character compared to Helvetica and Futura.  When it was redesigned for digital displays, there weren’t a lot of spacing or kerning changes, so use a designer’s eye when deciding to use this typeface for large bodies of text on a website.

Spiekermann went to college for art history, while running a letterpress in his basement. He worked freelance in London before getting on with several different foundries (at different times) and was later the recipient of several honors.  The Art Center College of Design awarded him an Honorary Doctorship in 2006, the same year he won the German Federal Design Prize. He co-authored Stop Stealing Sheep and Find Out How Type Works, and created typefaces for the German Rail and Nokia.

Meta can be seen in the world… in the logo for the Weather Channel.. in Australia, it’s used often by the Queensland Government… Second Life, Mozilla…

here are some real world references…

I’m tired. I’m going to bed.


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