Font Friday

Familjen Grotesk (free font)

The sans-serif typeface Familjen Grotesk on a mobile phone set in the heading, body text, pull quote and navigation. The quote by Ellen Lupton says: “Are some free fonts a gift to humanity rather than a blight on typographic civilization?”

Sans-serif typeface

by Familjen STHLM AB

Variable Font

2 axes (weight, italic)

8 styles (instances)

4 weights: Regular to Bold
with matching italics

License for web & app usage

Free

Best for

  • Headings (display text)
  • Long reading text (body text)
  • User Interfaces (functional text)

Specialty

A beautiful, free Grotesk typeface playing with opposites by mixing a formal construction with lively details.

My thoughts on Familjen Grotesk

Familjen Grotesk was designed by the Swedish design Studio Familjen, is available for free, and also on Google Fonts. This variable font is a very cool blend of styles. From its construction, it is based on sans-serif Grotesk typefaces, like Helvetica. They seem very neutral, strict, restrained due to their vertical stress, and closed apertures (see the e). Familjen Grotesk breaks with that by adding some peculiarities to its design.

Familjen Grotesk feels more restrained in its construction, but the details break it up. Creating an appealing blending of Formal & Approachable.
At first glance, Familjen Grotesk might be formal, but the details and specific letter shapes break with that perception.

It is playing with opposites. The most obvious feature are the softly bent stems. Just before becoming too organic, they are cut off straight at the baseline. I love that! The roundness and simplicity of the single-storey a and g adds to the approachability, the subtle ink traps and the very wide and square w makes it more mechanic, again.

ink traps, softly bent stems, single storey letter shapes
The softly bent stems, subtle ink traps and the single-storey a and g add up to a less formal appearance.

The typeface has little contrast, a large x-height and is rather narrow. This is helpful for headings and display text. Also used in a bit of body text, Familjen Grotesk performs well. But I’d rather not use it for long format reading, since some letter shapes grab too much attention. Overall, a great free font, and in some cases a welcome alternative to very dry Roboto or Helvetica.


What do you think? Is Familjen Grotesk something for an upcoming project? Tell me in the comments below!

Typographic power to your inbox!

  • FontFriday: I personally recommend one typeface per week and for what application it’s best. Every second week, it’s a free font.
  • Pimp my Type: Articles or a videos from the YouTube channel that help you improve the design of your website, app or digital product.
  • No Comic Sans, Open Sans 😅 or any other BS, like annoying ads. Your email will only be used for the newsletters, unsubscribe anytime.

One Comment

  1. Besides its restrained lines, Familjen Grotesk is still very leisurely mood.
    I don’t like its roundness and large x-height. But that’s what makes it applicable to Roboto-Helvetica-like uses.
    Good for headlines in creative publishing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.