Financier Typeface Family

— Kris Sowersby

TDC Prize


Financier Typeface Family

Financier is a new typeface family drawn for the redesign of the Financial Times (FT), which was launched in September 2014. It comprises two complementary styles : Financier Display and Financier Text. Kevin Wilson and Mark Leeds provided design direction over the course of several months.
The brief was to produce a sharper, more modern newspaper that shows off the FT’s strengths in reporting, analysis and visual journalism. The FT wanted an elegant, authoritative serif with the versatility to handle news and features in the arts, science and sport—as well as finance. Furthermore, the typeface had work across media, from wide-printed broadsheets to narrow mobile screens.
The majority of newspaper typefaces have ball terminals—it’s part of their heritage. I found it surprisingly difficult to move away from them; I really had to re-evaluate my assumptions on the genre. So I started scratching around for good models that fitted the bill: something with decent proportions for newspaper text and headlines, without ball terminals, that could support a range of weights and would work well on digital screens.
I settled upon Eric Gill’s work, particularly Solus, Joanna and Perpetua. I quickly roughed out a Text and Display cut over a couple of days. Broadly speaking, Financier Text follows aesthetic cues from Solus and Joanna, and Financier Display follows Perpetua.
In both Financier Text and Display I’ve tried to reconcile the aesthetic of mechanically sloped Romans and “proper” italics. They have the occasional flourish; the f, g and k are a nod to Gill’s work—necessary counterpoints to the neatness of the remaining letterforms. The Text Italic styles take the sloped Roman concept as a starting point and remove just enough extraneous detail to make them convincing. Happily, they have no trouble coping with harsh printing.

Kris Sowersby

Kris Sowersby graduated from the Whanganui School of Design in 2003. After brief employment as a graphic designer, in 2005 he started the Klim Type Foundry, which is based in Wellington, New Zealand. His first retail typeface, Feijoa, was released into the international market in 2007. In 2008, National, Sowersby’s second retail release, won a Certificate of Excellence from the Type Directors Club in New York. Since then he has received two more Certificates of Excellence (Serrano, Hardys) and worked on various custom and retail typefaces, including FF Meta Serif, the seriffed sibling of the renowned FF Meta. A reputation for typeface design has led Sowersby to work with contemporary typographic luminaries such as Christian Schwartz, Erik Spiekermann and Chester Jenkins; and with eminent design establishments such as House Industries, DNA Design and Pentagram. In 2010 Sowersby was named an ADC Young Gun. In 2013 he was accepted as a member of the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI). Sowersby’s typefaces combine historical knowledge with rigorous contemporary workmanship and finish. The Klim Type Foundry markets its typefaces directly through klim.co.nz.