Greatest fonts countdown: 69 - FF Quadraat

FontShop AG, the renowned type foundry, conducted a survey based on historical relevance, sales at FontShop.com (opens in new tab), and aesthetic quality. With a few additions from the experts at Creative Bloq and Computer Arts magazine, the best fonts ever were selected for the book, 100 Best Typefaces Ever.

Here we are counting down the 100 greatest fonts, but you can read interviews with some of the typefaces' creators, a brief history of type, the anatomy of a font, and much, much more in the book – find out how to get your copy in print or digital formats at the foot of this post.

But without further ado, here is the 69th best typeface…

69. FF Quadraat (opens in new tab)

  • Fred Smeijers, 1992

Although FF Quadraat is a digitally-created typeface, its starting point was drawings made by Fred Smeijers in his design studio of the same name. Quadraat was intended to look new, but to draw on established models such as Garamond, Times and Plantin.

Its italics, on the other hand, are highly idiosyncratic and original. It was not until 1997 that Smeijers added a sans-serif version to the Quadraat family. In doing so, he continued a Dutch tradition that had began in 1930 when Jan van Krimpen removed the serifs from his typeface Romolus. Martin Majoor (FF Scala) and Lucas de Groot (Thesis) later did the same.

The typeface was designed to look new, but was in fact based on established models such as Garamond, Times and Plantin

The typeface was designed to look new, but was in fact based on established models such as Garamond, Times and Plantin

Fred Smeijers’ early drawings for Quadraat

Fred Smeijers’ early drawings for Quadraat

FF Quadraat was used successfully and extensively in designer, illustrator, and teacher Frank Chimero’s book, The Shape of Design

FF Quadraat was used successfully and extensively in designer, illustrator, and teacher Frank Chimero’s book, The Shape of Design

The 100 Best Typefaces Ever

(opens in new tab)

This is an extract from The 100 Best Typefaces Ever (opens in new tab), the definitive guide to the greatest fonts ever created, in association with FontShop AG. Over 180 premium pages, the book dissects the world's greatest typefaces, bringing you some insightful background on each and interviews with their creators.

You can pick up the book at all good newsagents today or order it online (opens in new tab). Or you can download a digital edition directly to your iPad from the Computer Arts app on iTunes (opens in new tab).

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Rob is editorial, graphic design and publishing lead at Transport for London. He previously worked at Future Publishing over the course of several years, where he launched digital art magazine, ImagineFX; and edited graphic design magazine Computer Arts, as well as the Computer Arts Projects series, and was also editor of technology magazine, T3. 

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