The FF Meta® design is a sans serif, humanist-style typeface that was designed by Erik Spiekermann for the West German Post Office (Deutsche Bundespost). It was subsequently released in 1991 by Spiekermann's company FontFont.
FF Meta History
In early 1985, Erik Spiekermann was working for the high-end design company Sedley Place, who had offices in Berlin, Germany. Spiekermann and Sedley Place were responsible for some large scale branding and marketing exercises for well-known, multinational corporations.
The Deutsche Bundespost commissioned Sedley Place to produce a new corporate branding initiative. It called for a typeface that was easy to read in small point sizes and came out well on poor quality paper stock. The design brief included some very precise character set requirements, including that the new typeface not to be confused with one of the many variations of Helvetica. Spiekermann, with the assistance of Michael Bitter, went ahead and set about designing this new typeface. After the original design work was completed in Berlin. Gerry Barney and Mike Pratley of Sedley Place in London completed the design, producing full alphabets based on the design specifications of Spiekermann and Bitter.
Part of the original commission was to produce a typeface that could be printed almost anywhere without incurring significant extra typesetting and printing costs. With the Deutsche Bundespost being one of the largest companies in Europe, employing a staggering 500,000+ employees, this was important, as much of their printing was done by small print shops situated all over Germany. Deutsche Bundespost did not want to place financial burden on their printers. Fortunately, the Deutsche Bundespost were paying for the design of this typeface and were able distribute the font very affordably to its users.
The outcome of all this design work was a 3-weight font family available in Regular, Regular Italic and Bold. Despite the fact that the Deutsche Bundespost had spent considerable time and expense on the project, the executive management decided not to go ahead with its implementation for fear of causing too much disruption; they continued instead with their use of a variety of Helvetica fonts and FF Meta never became part of their corporate branding. (They now use Frutiger® as their corporate typeface.)
This, however, was not the end of the FF Meta story. The FF Meta typeface lay unused for a while before Spiekermann, realizing that the Deutsche Bundespost and Sedley Place would never use it, picked it up again and put some more work into developing the font family further. Having parted from Sedley Place, Spiekermann started his own company, the newly formed publishing label FSI Fontshop International.
The FF Meta family, initially released as a commercial font in 1991, now comprises over sixty fonts. The FF Meta 2 family was released in 1992, the FF Meta Plus family in 1993, and in 1998 a facelift of the complete font family reclassified the FF Meta series and combined them into family-sets named FF Meta Normal, FF Meta Book, FF Meta Medium, FF Meta Bold and FF Meta Black. These are all available in Roman, italic, small caps and italic small caps.
Between 1998 and 2005, further light stroke weights and a condensed family were introduced by Tagir Safayev and Olga Chayeva and were named: FF Meta Light and FF Meta Hairline. The last addition to the growing FF Meta font family is FF Meta Serif released by FSI in 2007.
FF Meta Usage
FF Meta is commonly used in the Netherlands in signage and on a huge range of product labeling from well-known products throughout the world. From 24 variations on the FF Meta font family, the typeface has now been expanded to include over 60 fonts with a wide variation of weights and styles available.
Licenses for desktop fonts
A typical desktop font EULA will allow you to install the font on your computer for use with authoring tools including word processors, design tools and other applications that permit font selection. Fonts can also be used for creation of print documents, static images (JPEG, TIFF, PNG) and logos. The cost of a desktop font license is determined by the number of workstations on which the font is to be used.View the desktop EULA for this family
Licenses for Fonts.com Web Fonts subscriptions
The Fonts.com Web Fonts license provides access to a selection of fonts for use on websites for use with CSS@font-face. Font delivery from our global network is available through all subscriptions – even our free plan. Some plans include the option to self-host, access to desktop fonts, and use of our FontExplorer X font manager and Typecast design application. The price of a plan is determined by its pageview allowance and other features included.View the Fonts.com Web Fonts subscription license agreement
Licenses for mobile apps
A mobile app license permits the embedding of the font into the iOS, Android or Windows RT mobile platforms. Licenses are platform-specific meaning a separate license is required for each platform the font is embedded into. Licenses remain valid for the total operating life of the app and a new license is not required to cover free updates to the app.Learn more about licenses for mobile apps
Licenses for electronic publications (eBooks)
An electronic publication license can be used for the embedding of fonts into electronic documents including e-books, e-magazines and e-newspapers. A license covers only a single title but is valid for the full operating life of that title. Every issue of an e-magazine, e-newspaper or other form of e-periodical is considered a separate, new publication. Format variations do not count as separate publications. If a publication is updated and distributed to existing users, a new license is not required. However, updated versions issued to new customers are defined as new publications and require a separate license.Learn more about licenses for eBooks
Server licenses authorize the installation of a font on a server that is accessed by remote users or website visitors. These licenses are commonly used by Web-based businesses providing goods that are personalized by its users such as business cards, images with captions and personalized merchandise. Users are not allowed to download the font file and the font may not be used outside the server environment. The font may not be employed for a software as a service (SaaS) application in which the service is the actual product and not the means of providing the product. Server licenses cover a set number of CPU cores on production servers (development servers are not counted) on which the font is installed. The license is valid for 1 year.Learn more about server licenses