Named for the collaboration of Frank Sheeran, Ian Chai and Glenn Chappell that produced the FIGlet program, FIG is a set of three typefaces in the spirit of early email and ASCII art explorations. Written in 1991 using the programming language C, the FIGlet program allowed users to create letters with basic ASCII characters and then paste them into a software program of choice. Alphabets of surprising ingenuity – often made using just a single element – could then be tasked for everything from email signatures to banners and posters.
Taking inspiration from this reductionist approach, FIG Sans and Serif follow the FIGlet construction principal literally and rigidly: they are made from a single element. FIG Sans uses only the + symbol while FIG Serif uses the * symbol to construct each character. As your eyes have now gathered, these are display fonts to be sure – larger sizes are encouraged.
In contrast to these hardline construction principles, FIG Script follows a less rigid structure to arrive at something of an upright geometric script. However, after a lot of trial and error it became obvious that a script with too few angles was illegible. The resulting surprise pairing of primitive geometry against swooping ascenders/descenders makes for a script that’s both delicate and versatile.