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The typographic Times
[December 2006]
Fedra Serif
by Peter Bilak
Fedra Serif

Intro

Fedra SerifFedra Serif is a multilingual contemporary serif typeface supporting over 70 languages including Greek Polytonic and Cyrillic with two different construction variants. Fedra Serif A is a low-contrast version with short ascenders and descenders intended to work mainly in extremely small sizes, while version B has an increased contrast and stem lengths.

Fedra Sans vs Fedra Serif

Though Fedra Sans and Fedra Serif A share the same proportions (only Serif B abandons the base model), the main intention was to create typefaces that function independently, rather than only in combination with members of their own family. The way the Fedra typefaces are linked to each other might be better compared to the way Gill Sans relates to Joanna, as opposed to the way typical 1990s sans and serif pairs are related. Rather than just add serifs to the existing sans, in Fedra Serif the letters have been entirely re-drawn from scratch.

Fedra Serif

Fedra Sans and Serif are also based on the same skeleton, having the same proportions of ascenders, descenders and x-height. However, each one functions well also independently, perhaps because the Sans existed before the Serif. Designing the Sans based on Serif is the usual way, resulting in a font where the two fonts styles.

Characteristics

Some of Fedra’s characteristics are: a diamond shaped point above the letter i, open counters (P, b, 9, 6), curved terminating strokes (R, k), and sharp angled connections for connecting strokes.
Fedra Serif

Fedra Serif has two versions: one with short ascenders and descenders (stems) and low contrast, and one with longer stems and more contrast. Version A’s large x-height and short stem length match the proportions of Fedra Sans. It is a low-contrast typeface that performs well in small sizes and in low-resolution print. Version B has longer stems, taller capitals, and an increased contrast between thick and thin parts. It would typically be used in high-resolution offset printing. Both versions share the same letter widths and kerning pairs, so they can be interchanged without causing disruption.Fedra Serif
Fedra SerifFedra includes some unusual ligatures such as the one above, specifically designed for the Lithuanian language, helping to eliminate the potential conflict between these two characters.

Fedra Serif Italic


Fedra Serif ItalicFedra Serif Italic’s letters are constructed with slightly differing stroke angles. This is inspired mainly by 17th century Jean Jannon’s italic, and produces dynamic shapes that clearly distinguish themselves from the shapes of the Roman (upright font) when engaged in the reading process, yet still enable the italic to work well with the Roman in a block of text,

Fedra Serif Display

Fedra Serif Display has been designed to compliment text versions of Fedra. It has been specifically made, in collaboration with Nikola Djurek, to suit the needs of editorial design - the conditions of newspaper print, catalogues in which strong, compact headlines are important.Fedra Serif Display


Related articles: Peter Bilak interview (November 2006) & Fedra Sans portrait.

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