Fred Smeijers
Release Year
Country of Origin
Sans Serif, Grotesque
Original Format
OurType, FontShop
clumsy, early grotesque, sans serif


Fred Smeijers’ latest creation is already raising eyebrows among the internet typorati, whose contemporary eyes are more accustomed to polished sans serifs. Purposely adopting the blunt and inelegant forms of early German grotesques, Smeijers seems to nod to the past while he winks at those modern designers who truly appreciate it.

While Ludwig is based on grots of the 1800s, it is not a mere revival. It embodies Smeijers personal vision of how an early 19th-century sanserif design might look and perform today. While Ludwig᾿s roman shapes are rooted in antique material, its italic is more contemporary in approach. Much like his FF Quadraat, “Ludwig charms simply by being there, without looking too smooth and beautiful,” says Smeijers. His words are proven by the cover of the book Elmgreen & Dragset and Hyphen Music’s album sleeves (shown below).

Along with its glyphs that echo typical 19th century letterforms “ like the capital G, for instance •€” Ludwig includes alternates for G, Q, W, a and g, plus a large variety of ligatures and other fine typographic features necessary for present-day use.

Ludwig’s other significant feature is that it’s been designed as a companion to Arnhem. Both families have the same x-height, cap-height, ascender-height, and descender-depth proportions, and while Ludwig offers more weights, most are shared with Arnhem.

To the Standard version, Ludwig Pro adds small caps; lining, old style and small cap figures (each in tabular and proportional widths); fractions; comprehensive scientific superiors and inferiors, nominators and denominators; case sensitive punctuation sets; mathematical and monetary symbols (in tabular and proportional widths); arrows; standard and discretionary ligatures; and support for all (Latin script based) Western, Central and East European languages.

Listing Info

Stephen Coles’s avatar

Last edited by Stephen Coles on August 28, 2009, 07:46am EST

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