Timesplitters 2 Music Extended Essay

FF Mark

Just as much as the original design of the Freischwinger could neither be fully attributed to Mart Stam nor to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (or even to Marcel Breuer, as some historians like to believe), no type designer can claim to have invented the geometric sans. Several designers and the respective foundries sensed the need to produce a type that would reflect the ideas and innovations of the 1920s — more or less at the same time. While these typefaces share the same core idea, they do have distinctions, special features and peculiarities.

ff Mark is not a revival of any of the typefaces mentioned above in particular. Evidently, it is based on a concept that is apparent in many examples from the past. What it is, is an original contemporary design that serves today’s needs. While some of these examples are charming and elegant they may appear quirky in single weights and are not consistent throughout the typographic system.

In the capital letters, ff Mark willfully avoids the capitalis monumentalis proportions and instead consistently represents wide letter shapes with the x-height in good balance. Overall, the typeface bears low contrast and even though very little stroke modulation has been applied to the letter shapes it maintains excellent legibility even in smaller type sizes.

It extends to ten weights with more than a thousand characters each, allowing for a wide range of possibilities in creating typographic hierarchy. Besides the more modern ff Mark regular, the typeface is equipped with a book weight to support rather traditional text appearances. This feature is on par with Neuzeit-Buchschrift, which was available in 6–12 pt. While the oblique fonts in some older examples of the geometric sans do not fully match the rest of the typeface (and thus can seem disturbing), the ff Mark italic weights are more harmonized and retain the geometric character just as much as their upright counterparts. What’s more, ff Mark has small capitals. Within this large system of weights, very little optical corrections or compromises have been made to keep the type as consistent as possible.

In some later digitizations of the typefaces mentioned above, certain glyphs were often added in the redesign process: for example currency signs, the @-symbol, etc. Unfortunately, these were often not drawn accurately and certainly not with the necessary dedication deserved and they therefore remain as alien elements in the digital versions. Obviously, ff Mark is equipped with all the necessary glyphs to provide a satisfying contemporary font for all eventualities.

Furthermore, the ligature provided for each of the weights, the historic letter combination ‘ft’, is a ligature reminiscent of Futura, and one that the editor Jakob Hegener apparently compared to the shape of a horseshoe magnet. 8 A stylistic set of particularly “German features” have also been added: ‘7’ with a crossbar and a long ‘s’. Additionally, the font contains several shapes and arrows following the sets of geometric shapes in the original Futura. Details such as the position of the tail in capital letters ‘K’ and ‘R’ and the ear-like umlaut-dots on the ‘O’, quote shapes from the past and personalize the typeface.

ff Mark takes on ideas that have worked well just as much as it learns from defects of its historical examples. What it does, is successfully perform how these challenges can be overcome. True to the geometric tradition, but better, ff Mark is a typeface of our time.


Ear-like umlaut-dots quote shapes from the past and personalize
the typeface.


Breaking tradition with ten weights and over a thousand characters
within each weight.


More consistent terminals (e, s, c).
FF Mark (top) v. Futura (bottom)


Willfully avoiding the capitalis monumentalis proportions.
FF Mark (top) v. Futura (bottom)


Wider proportions and a better-balanced and bigger x-height.
FF Mark (top) v. Futura (bottom)



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