Faction developed from my ongoing fascination with the relationship between forms and counter-forms. With my previous release, Calcula from Typotheque, I tried to explore this relationship as a strict ratio between white (space) and black (letterforms). To this end the letters adapt and interlock achieving a maze like quality.
With Faction I wanted to design from the inside out, deciding the white before the black. As with Calcula I gave myself a very constrained environment to play within: I decided from the outside that the counters will only be rectangles of 20 units width, either vertical or horizontal.
There will be no curves or adjustments to this rule. The actual letterforms (or the black) were designed to fit these constraints. Such a logic forced my imagination to think in lateral ways, to approach many glyphs in ways I’d have never thought of approaching them before. The spacing and kerning enabled the white between letters mimic the counters.
I liked the unique shapes the white was creating so I inverted the relationship with the outline style. I’ve been long fascinated with outline type from the moment I laid eyes on Jan van Krimpen’s Open Kapitalen (revived digitally by TEFF). They emphasise the shape of shapes, forcing the viewer to see the contours of letterforms sans the weight. But just as regular letters, outlined forms need fine optical correction and spacing to make them work. Faction Outline required more work than even the solid, something I did not anticipate. The spacing made sure that the white of the solid was the black here, with the letters merging with their outlines to create unique shapes. I never envisioned the pair as layering fonts—the outline style was optically corrected on its own, it doesn’t have the same metric and kerning information as the solid. Faction Black and Outline offer enough potential individually and when used side by side.
I enjoy designing typefaces by setting up some constraints in the beginning. It is a fun exercise where the logic of the typeface slowly develops, and I don’t really have an idea of what the letterforms will look like. No typeface is devoid of historical inspiration of course, and I was certainly influenced by two typefaces I greatly admire: Klimax by Ondrej Jób and Neil Bold by Wayne Stettler.
Lost Type published my first two typefaces (Enemy in 2014 and Orwellian in 2015) and Riley Cran and I developed a close friendship over the years bouncing ideas off each other and seeking advice. I was eager to work with LT again and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. Plus Lost Type has always welcomed my zany ideas.
About the name, “Faction” is a termed commonly used in politics to refer to a dissenting group within a larger group. This seemed perfect for a typeface where the counters contradicted the outer forms.
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Shiva Nallaperumal is a Graphic Designer & Type Designer. He has worked with a wide range of international clients designing identity systems, exhibitions, publications, type specimens, and typefaces. He has published type families with Typotheque, The Lost Type Co-Op, and The Indian Type Foundry. He has previously worked at Pentagram (USA) and Grandmother (India). In 2017, he was selected as one of Forbes India’s 30 Under 30.
Check out these other typefaces designed by Shiva Nallaperumal and published by Lost Type.