Find hidden squares and experimental inktraps in Fatih Hardal’s FH Giselle

The last time we chatted to Istanbul-based graphic designer Fatih Hardal, also known as Hardal, he was creating the experimental and visually pleasing FH Fraktur, a gothic typeface influenced by old architectural structures. Since then, Hardal has completed his undergraduate studies, started a master’s degree, and continued working with a heavy typography focus.

One of these recent typefaces, FH Giselle, was released in September this year. Hardal was inspired by Armin Hofmann’s Giselle poster made back in 1959 for the Basel Theatre’s production of the ballet suite, where the typeface gets its name from. The poster features a heavy use of contrast – from the stark monochrome to the polarity between the solid font and the blurry photograph – and it was this contrast that inspired Hardal when creating FH Giselle.

“I’ve been studying inktrap characters. I thought that would be appropriate for Giselle, so I did an aesthetic inktrap experiment,” Hardal tells It’s Nice That. “In my presentations, I look to past designs for examples, especially designs between 1940 – 1970. I admire them!” Being the first typeface that he created after setting up his new studio, Hardal Studio, he is especially motivated by the fact that his typefaces have been used across the world. “It’s a great feeling to have it used in other countries!” he says.

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Fatih Hardal: FH Giselle

The font, coming in a singular weight, contains a number of striking features that makes it appropriate for display use. What instantly catches your eye is the aforementioned inktraps that create a sense of horizontal dynamism. Upon closer inspection, you notice that the corners are carved out at a 45 degree angle, a piece of visual treat that rounds off the angular characters when viewed from afar, but keeps the structural rhythm that Hardal creates with the letterform. “Together, they make a hidden square form,” he explains, something visible when the corners align. Although much more legible than FH Fraktur, the typeface is still as beautiful as his previous work. The use of thinner bars for the letters “E” and “H” and thinner strokes for his “M” and “N” is another notable addition to the unique shape of this typeface, almost like dragging a toothpick across paint.

“I spend a lot of time on my work. Unfortunately, there’s currently no type foundries in Turkey, so this is what I’m working on,” Hardal says. Outside of FH Giselle, Hardal also released the Ampersand typeface, a single weight serif font, back in May, and is currently working on another display serif typeface coming out in 2020. Hardal’s attention to detail and eye for how the pieces fit in a bigger picture is something to be admired.

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Fatih Hardal: FH Giselle

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Fatih Hardal: FH Giselle

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Fatih Hardal: FH Giselle

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Fatih Hardal: FH Giselle

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Fatih Hardal: FH Giselle

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Fatih Hardal: FH Giselle

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Fatih Hardal: FH Giselle