Shaping the future of the web, one letter at a time
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Mozilla is the world leader in driving openness and innovation on the web. Looking to expand beyond their immensely successful Firefox browser, the foundation invented Firefox OS, an Open Source platform for smartphones and TVs. Needing a partner to design the cornerstone of this new digital experience, they turned to Edenspiekermann.
In our digital world, a brand’s user experience extends beyond the logo. Every micro-interaction is an opportunity for a brand to define itself. Typography is arguably the most fundamental aspect of an operating system; from quickly scanning a blog post, reading an article, or chatting with a friend, it’s the driving force for an optimal experience. Firefox OS required a digitally native font, designed and hinted for on-screen use, to serve as an anchoring brand element.
The project was led by Erik Spiekermann and included designers Ralph du Carrois and Andreas Eigendorf. We quickly developed a beta version of the typeface and made fully functional fonts for testing and presentation. Understanding that type is an integral element of the UI experience, we implemented a disciplined practice for testing. It was necessary to visualize different sizes, styles and weights within an interface mock-up to ensure each iteration continued to be legible, accessible and usable for a variety of text elements, like field labels and section headers. As the font was designed specifically for the Mozilla interface, significant time was dedicated to hinting, optimizing it for a variety of digital displays.
The result is Fira Sans, which has taken on a life of its own and is now a standalone Open Source project. From the moment it launched, Fira has continued its rapid growth, covering more and more alphabets and offering further weights and styles for users around the globe. It’s a fundamental building block of the Firefox OS and can be seen on devices like Smart TVs and the web. It enables Mozilla to connect with their global user base in a unique voice that’s a pivotal piece of their visual language, and one that their passionate and loyal community puts to use every single day.