FontFabrik: Custom type design

At LucasFonts, commissioned work is the rule rather than the exception. Most of the typefaces available on this website started out as custom-made fonts designed for a specific client and to solve a particular design problem. FontFabrik, the LucasFonts sister company specializing in custom type design, enjoys world-wide fame and has worked for many top brands including Microsoft, Volkswagen. Heineken, Sun Microsystems and Siemens as well as prestigious publications such as Elle, Le Monde, Metro, Der Spiegel and Tageszeitung (taz). Non-profit clients include the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fishing, and Amnesty International.

LucasFonts and FontFabrik are involved in typographic projects on many different levels. But when it comes to custom-made type, there are roughly three models:

(1) New typefaces

If exclusivity and originality is an issue, custom-made typefaces are often designed from scratch. The typefaces designed for Der Spiegel, Die Tageszeitung (taz) or Sun Microsystems are cases in point. For Heineken Beer a new type family was designed on the basis of just the five letters in the logo. For Siemens, Luc(as) developed several fonts and pictogram sets to be used on the small low-resolution screens of washing machines and other appliances.
Most famously, Luc(as) de Groot was one of the designers selected by Microsoft to contribute to the ClearType project, and he designed two of the typefaces included in Windows Vista™: Calibri and Consolas.

(2) Director’s cut

The most common form of customizing at LucasFonts is to adapt one of our own type families to the client’s needs and wishes. There can be many reasons for wanting a modified version of a font – aesthetic, linguistic, technical, editorial, economic or even political reasons. Proactive thinking about clients’ needs and wishes is second nature to us.
All large text and headline families at LucasFonts have been designed in the MultipleMaster™ format. This technology allows us to generate fonts with customized proportions: an affordable and fast way of adapting typefaces to a client’s needs.

(3) Doctoring the classics

There are instances when a client would like a special or optimized version of an existing classic, such as the Futura variants that we designed for Volkswagen and Elle magazine.