A Humanist Sans and 5 Grid-Inspired Fonts from The Foundry

The Foundry typefaces have been staples of graphic and brand design for more than 20 years. Owned and operated by David Quay and Freda Sack, The Foundry’s rich collection includes designs that uniquely capture the designers’ hand-lettering background.

Foundry Sans

Quay and Sack, founders and principals of The Foundry, are legendary for their clean, classic typefaces – and the Foundry Sans™  typeface is typical of their work. This humanistic design was not inspired by calligraphic handwriting or the structured shapes of 19th century grotesques, but the forms and proportions of a formative Renaissance typeface.

Quay tells the story of a conversation he had with renowned type designer Hans Meyer. In it, Meyer revealed to Quay that his Syntax typeface, a sans serif design, was inspired by the Sabon design, a serif typeface designed by Jan Tschichold.

Foundry Sans

Foundry Sans™ Design Foundry The Foundry

The concept resonated with Quay and moved him to look for inspiration from an existing serif typeface for the design of The Foundry’s first sans serif family. Drawn in 1990, the foundation for Foundry Sans™ came from the serif design of the Stempel Garamond typeface family. The relatively wide capitals, distinctive lowercase “a” and “g” and joins of shoulders to vertical strokes in characters like the “m,” “n” and “u,” are emblematic of the Garamond design.

Foundry Architype Crouwel Collection

Although they do not appear so at first glance, the designs in The Foundry’s Architype Crouwel™ Collection are based on hand lettering. In the late 1990s, Quay traveled to Amsterdam to visit famed Dutch graphic  designer, Wim Crouwel.“I can‘t remember the actual reason I visited him,” Quay recalls, “I think it was partly to ask if he would give a lecture. I took the opportunity to speak with him about the typefaces he designed while working at the Total Design studio. I was amazed to learn that none of this work was available digitally. I suggested that The Foundry digitize them – and Crouwel happily agreed.” The result is a suite of five distinctive fonts that appear to have a strict adherence to the grid, yet remain affable and inviting.


Architype Stedelijk

The letterforms that make up the Stedelijk design first appeared in the seminal Vormgevers poster, commissioned in 1968 by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Crouwel created a rigid grid system across the poster of 57 vertical by 41 horizontal lines.

This grid also established the foundation for the construction of the letterforms. Although hand drawn, the resulting typeface had a machine-made appearance. This striking black and white poster with its visible grid became one of Crouwel’s most iconic designs. The Architype Stedelijk™ typeface recreates these letterforms in a digital font.

Architype Stedelijk

Architype Stedelijk™ Design Foundry, The Foundry

Architype Catalogue

The Architype Catalogue Solid™  typeface is based on Crouwel’s 1970 Stedelijk Museum exhibition catalogue for sculptor Claes Oldenburg. The soft “padded” letterforms on the cover evoke the artist’s work. Oldenburg was so taken with the design that he asked Crouwel to complete the alphabet.

The Architype Catalogue™ design is the digital version of this alphabet and is available in outline and a solid design, which is displayed below.

Achitype Catalogue Solid

Architype Catalogue Solid™, Design Foundry, The Foundry


Architype Fodor

The Fodor alphabet was first used to brand Amsterdam’s Museum Fodor magazine. The cover text copy was set with an electric typewriter, and the monospaced typeface that it used created strong horizontal and vertical lines.

Architype Fodor™ Design Foundry The Foundry

Architype Fodor™ Design Foundry The Foundry

Crouwel made these visible by using a regular pattern of pink dots on an orange background. He then used this grid to draw the letters “f-o-d-o-r” and a set of numbers. The Fodor typeface is built on this foundation.


Architype Vierkant

The Architype Vierkant™ t typeface was developed from the few letterforms that Crouwel created for an opening spread in a 1972 Drupa catalogue on the theme “typo vision international.” This design was based on forms found in his New Alphabet design, a typeface designed to embrace the limitations of the cathode-ray tube technology used by early data-display screens and phototypesetting equipment. All letters were made of horizontal and vertical strokes.

Architype Vierkant

Architype Vierkant™ Design Foundry The Foundry

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