Background: Extraset is a digital type foundry founded by four partners: Alex Dujet, Xavier Erni, Roger Gaillard and David Mamie. We are independent graphic designers with a common interest in typography. We use the website to promote, distribute and sell fonts designed by graphic designers for graphic designers. Extraset.ch is the only distribution tool for the fonts. We also showcase our fonts and designs through Instagram.
Design core: For Extraset’s website, we wanted something clean and user friendly, straight but customizable as much as possible. We decided to include the type specimens of the fonts directly on the typeface page instead of downloaded as PDFs, which is typical of other type foundry sites. Each typeface page is divided into two parts: The first part is totally carte blanche for the type designer. Each designer can handle it any way they want, choosing to use animation or not. On this part, we used an autoplay slider with three different time codes to create some picture flips. That avoids making “easy” motion, and it’s lighter for charging. We can manage the column as we want, each mixing type layouts and pictures. The second part contains the style waterfall, the type tester and frequently, the character map.
Favorite details: We are really proud of the type tester. It was the first time we programmed this kind of interactive tool. Also, it is very user friendly, offering enough possibilities to show the range of what the typefaces can do. When developing the tool, we put in a lot of customizable features, then we pared them down to only the ones we needed. On other type foundry websites, we noted that users can change whatever they want; for Extraset, we wanted to have something that always supports the designer’s purpose. For the mobile experience, we decided to remove this type tester to keep the website as a showcase. The desktop version works more as a tool for graphic designers.
Challenges: The responsive design was the big challenge. We wanted the site to have precisely the same experience on a 27-inch and an 11-inch screen, and when you are really picky on typography and details, it takes a long time to adjust everything.
Divergent paths: Between polishing our fonts for the launch, creating content for the website and social media, and programming the website, there were many things we put aside. The things we really need to do on this website are some page transitions and interface animations. Maybe we’ll do them in a few months.