Founders Grotesk X Condensed

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Release Year
Country of Origin
New Zealand
Sans Serif, Grotesque
Original Format


The impetus for Founders Grotesk originally came from Duncan Forbes of The International Office. We had often discussed the nature and usefulness of the classic grotesks, and the possibility of creating a new one. After trawling through my 1912 Miller & Richard specimen, he became enamoured with their series of Grotesques, particularly the No.7 all-caps showing.

He noted the appealing rudimentary geometry, the serpentine S, and the narrow but welcome aperture of the C and G. Even though I was aware of these styles, I hadn’t considered their possibility for contemporary interpretation. As Duncan is an excellent graphic designer, he saw potential in the Grotesques. I have learned that graphic designers see typefaces differently to type designers�“it is wise to take note when their interest is piqued.

The spacing in Founders Grotesk is purposely tighter than any of the referenced typefaces. I have found that graphic designers will happily use a sans serif at all point sizes, often tracking the default spacing to suit the size. As it’s simply not possible to space a single font optimally for all point sizes, I feel that designers can obtain better results by opening tight spacing for text, rather than closing loose spacing for display.

During the development of Founders Grotesk I was made aware of the enduring qualities of Helvetica Halbfett (Medium). For display typography, the heft and weight is almost perfect. This had quite an influence on me, resulting in a close weight match to Founders Grotesk Medium. However, this is as far as the direct Helvetica influence extends.

Founders Grotesk was commissioned for completion for the wonderful redesign of The Weekend Herald, lead by deLuxe & Associates. It includes five weights in roman and italic. Founders Grotesk ships in OpenType format and is available exclusively from

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matthijs sluiter’s avatar

Last edited by matthijs sluiter on June 12, 2012, 03:41pm EST

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