Posted in Typeface

FS Silas → The enigmatic type | Fontsmith


Fontsmith have today launched a new typeface, called FS Silas. It’s available in both sans serif and slab serif form, with each family containing 5 weights plus the italics.

This gives FS Silas the ability to convey a wide range of typographic voices within a single design language. Fontsmith sees this as increasingly important for brands, and gives agencies a chance to specify what Fontsmith describes as ‘a complete typographic toolkit’.

Fontsmith created the sans initially, and then set to work on the accompanying slab serif version. Design director Phil Garnham said:

“We stuck with the angular theme of the sans by drawing angled slab serifs, as opposed to the square serifs that slab fonts usually have. That created an inner dynamism in words and sentences on the page, and a very distinctive, crafted character, like a Victorian soul in a contemporary body.”

To mark the introduction of FS Silas, customers who buy one of the families at will have the chance to buy the second family for half price.

With so many new typefaces released every year, it’s a credit to Fontsmith that they give their major new releases a proper introduction to the market. FS Silas is no exception, and for this launch Fontsmith commissioned Believe in®, who were also behind the launch of FS Emeric in 2013.

The idea at the heart of the campaign is “The enigmatic type”, a reference to the font’s hidden depths. While on first glance FS Silas comes across as a hard working utilitarian font, all those angles give it a confidence and energy. Spycraft and espionage references are featured throughout and really help to give the overall campaign a sense of mystery and intrigue.

The beautiful printed type specimen is intentionally very pure typographically speaking. It uses only black ink on a range of different paper stocks, with a white foil lending a touch of class to the outer covers. Using varying page sizes and coloured tip-ins throughout, it feels like a dossier of assembled materials, reinforcing the espionage theme.

The content draws materials from lots of different sources, such as morse code, court transcripts and intercepted messages. As with any specimen, the content is there primarily to demonstrate the typeface, but this one is also entertaining to leaf through. Blair Thomson said:

“To succeed, the type specimen needed to strike a delicate balance, as we wanted it to feel honest without revealing its secrets. The document is utilitarian, but we also wanted to entertain and reward readers for their time. And we didn’t want it to feel like a parody.”

In addition, a series of short and intriguing teaser videos were created by The Space Between, a new creative collective from Matt Rudd (Rudd Studio) and Steve Jones. These were revealed on social media during the week prior to the launch of the typeface, each one unlocking a piece of the overall puzzle. Steve Jones said:

“The evocative soundtrack combines recordings of shortwave Number Stations with noise grooves from a vintage Roland SH-101 and other synth sources and effects. The project was quite a challenge, but a lot of fun. Working with source material as inspiring as a new Fontsmith font was a joy.”

You can see FS Silas at


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