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Forming a community with fonts | Frank Fonts

Display type, text type, conceptual type and various typefaces: many Hungarian graphic designers design fonts even in addition to their regular jobs, but somehow we still don’t find a Hungarian platform that would comprehensively collect and display the various creations and their names. This is what type designer Béla Frank attempts to try, while working on promoting and deepening the traditions of Hungarian type design

Béla Frank studied graphic design in KREA Design School in Budapest back in 2009 – this is when he started to show an interest in typography. Initially he only designed characters and words, and a little later he also created his first typeface. His first few unfinished type designs landed in the drawer or on free font sites, but soon he discovered the various font distributers and foundries. “Having my first typeface approved for distribution, and then someone actually purchasing it was an unforgettable experience for me. The moment seems defining even after 10 years working with fonts“ – Béla told us. 

The years 2010-2011 started to become more and more exciting for him, he designed more and more typefaces, and he also started to receive custom orders both from Hungary and abroad. Between 2012 and 2015, he worked in the team of Fontsmith in London on visual identity fonts designed for local and global brands, and after a few years of designing for the drawer, in 2018 he started his own site under the name Frank Fonts: “Before that I was a graphic designer, and a so to say part-time type designer, and then I was a type designer who worked for others. This was when I reached a point that I was able to focus on type design as a full-time project, in my own, one-person studio” – he added. “At the moment I do everything myself, which is quite a lot, but I enjoy every aspect of it. I design, communicate with clients and I strive to offer the best license agreement there is in my opinion, in addition to my own services. Frank Fonts is one of the best options for developing myself both on a professional and personal level“ – he continued.

Currently he offers three typefaces. The first typeface is the Kraken Slab available in eight different versions and also winning the type design award of Type Directors Club in 2019, one the most prestigious awards of the sector, which becomes characteristic owing to its rectangular serif (slab serif), and makes a perfect display type. Kraken Slab can be observed in, for example, Dóra Máthé’s designs made for the exhibition showcasing the projects of the Museum of Transport or de_form studio’s creatives made for the exhibition showcasing the art of Erik Kessels held in Mai Manó Ház. 

Frank Fonts’s repertoire also includes the Rupp Mono so-called monospace font (a typeface with characters of the same width horizontally – the Ed.), which is suitable for longer texts, as well as the latest, decorative typeface titled Blokk, inspired by the typographic heritage of the various eras of Budapest.

“Even though the selection is quite limited as for now, I try to give a good representation of the type design styles. Over the next six months, a few sans typefaces suitable to be used in longer texts will be released, the beta versions of which I will try to test with as many designers as possible. The feedback coming from future users is an invaluable asset in the course of the design process. In a sense, we design the fonts together” – Béla highlighted.

Béla Frank does not only work on promoting his own typefaces; his Instagram account titled Hungarian Type Designdedicated to Hungarian type design and designers debuted only recently. “It won’t be about typography or calligraphy, but type design, strictly speaking. This does not have such rich traditions in Hungary as it does in the case of the Polish or the Czech, for example, not to mention English, German or Dutch type design, but in spite of this there is an abundance of materials. For some time, I have been trying to collect information and visual materials in this regard, but I came to realize it quite soon that this could also be of interest to others, and so I tried to find a way of making these accessible in the easiest way possible. As a result, Hungarian Type Design is currently available in the form of an Instagram account, but soon a related website will also be launched” – the designer explained.

Why? I think there is a need for a platform that offers view over Hungarian type design as well as the Hungarian designers living here and abroad for both Hungarian and foreign interested parties. A place where you can get information, learn and form a community around fonts” – he continued.

The first creator showcased on the platform was renowned Hungarian artist and type designer Imre Reiner, but soon more and more contemporary and past creators will be presented who created and are creating fonts. 

The good news for typography-lovers is Frank Fonts’s selection will be expanded with more new and old, currently unavailable typefaces at latest in the first half of next year. Even though in the phase of material collection the website of Hungarian Type Design is still under construction, you can stay up-to-date by subscribing to Frank Fonts’s newsletter.

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