19/10/2008

Make Do Type





Been working on type that functions as an extension of my hand. I draw on-and-off-screen and there is always a kind of basic geometry either way so this is a way of trying to formalise something that is a natural inclination. It's heavily limited by a 2.5mm grid and by monospacing which fosters glitches and inconsistencies in the optical spaces between characters.



Howard Kettler's Courier (in which this text is set) has beautiful innovation in the way the slab-serif-lengths vary. My grid forces something dumber to happen in the attempt to achieve even greyness. Some characters have no serif, some serifs invert; sometimes counterforms are filled. Also, through hand-drawing, wanted to allow each character to exponentially grow variants, so the form develops 'growths' that take them towards C19th ornament, late 1960s OCR, etc. But always retaining geo-awkwardness.



This is Herbert Bayer's 1959 'fonetik alfabet' a development of the 1925 Universal. Been etched on the retina since discovering it in Herbert Spencer's 1968 book, The Visible Word, a product of his RCA-based Legibility Unit. The ligatures are beautiful, especially when linked to phonemes. So the Make-Do-Modernism (virtues of constraint) of my type grew from some interest here in Bayer's slightly awkward geometries (see letter 's') and the use of just one case (although I use upper- and lower-).



There are generic solutions using a limited radius and grid and I'm conscious of many people coming to the same results on this route but maybe the idiosyncrasy comes in the mixing and mutation of variants that pull it somewhere more vernacular. These forms were lasercut from acrylic sheet last week so I could play with them. The aim is to cut them at double-size and mount to type-height (+/- 23mm) for use on letterpress.



Another inspiration is Max Bill. This is, amazingly, a lino-cut poster from 1944. I've seen one of this series in the flesh and the cut lino impression gives enriched surface-object-quality.

4 comments:

ANDY said...

real nice.

Liam Cobb said...

yeh these are cool, like the playfulness with the letters.

michael crowe said...

Is there any way I could get this font? It's gorgeous.

michael crowe said...

It's an absolutely beautiful font. Is there any way I could have it?!