Fantastic Fonts


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
14 Sunday 14th August 2011

Dyslexie typeface demonstration video

While it'd be nigh on impossible to collate a be-all-end-all list of the best in typefaces, we think this innovative one from Dutch designer Christian Theo Boer is a pretty good place to start. Named Dyslexie, it's a cleverly weighted set of letters whose sole purpose is to make reading on a computer easier for people with dyslexia. Working with StudioStudio, he's developed the typeface to sort of go hand in hand with the natural tug of gravity in order to make letters and words harder to muddle up. A typeface with a practical and social dimension? Don't mind if we do.

In keeping with the real-life application of typography, we've also stumbled across two fairly athletic typefaces. The first is Joan Pons Moll's Running Alphabet. This little treat is a kind of combination of a jogging obsession and healthy love for all things font. By tracing his own jogging routes on GPS via some sort of smartphone, Moll seems set to eventually create an entire typeface that straddles sportiness, cartograhy and straight-up geekiness. Hate all you want, the guy's gonna get fit and have his own invention to boot.

On a more cosmetic front, Shantanu Suman's Shoestring typeface also injects a bit of athleticism into font fun. Letters, numbers and punctuation marks are woven through shoelace holes to make his letterforms. These aren't initially the easiest to read perhaps, but are a great little idea. Maybe he and Moll could link up, with Moll tying his shoelaces according to the corresponding letter as he traces it on a jog? Just saying.

We think it's time you heard a bit about FontFace, from designer Andy Clymer. He developed this movable version of Hoefler & Frere-Jones' Ideal Sans type, where your face controls and mutates the shape of each letter. If you were ever one of those kids who learnt the alphabet best by anthropomorphising each letter, (I remember 'f' was one of the friendlier-looking letters to me), this should be one to please you. In future, H & FJ seem keen to explore how facial recognition and letterforms could spread to involve our hands and fingers for moulding the details of each letter while our faces would control how the letters move overall.

Paper & Love by Chris Berthe

If a hands-on approach is in fact more inspiring then good old papercraft typefaces deserve a mention. We've found this one from designer Chris Berthe, which started off principally as a 2D pattern before he decided to push it into the papercraft realm. Named 'Paper & Love' (which he himself admits is pretty corny), the octagonal design comes to life with origami folding techniques, and can be used both in 2D and 3D. Of course as papercraft lovers, we're more into the 3D version. All you need to do this one yourself is a printer, X-Acto knife and a bit of a dab hand at some tricky folding. If that's all a bit too much to handle, this simple stacked paper typeface from Shaz Madani is another route to take.

Revelling in its own stark, clean lines the Arctic Paper letterforms are a testament to minimalism. Madani really plays with negative space and stresses the importance of high quality materials for this particular type. Even though it really slots in more with an arts & crafts approach than one of meticulous and rigourous patterns for font-making it wins on aesthetics.

Last of the bunch are colourful and explosive letterforms that rely on a little bit of trickery to overwhelm the eye before it realises it's just looking at letters. The Neurotypo font, developed by Ecuadorian designer Diego Lara, works to pull your eye in all sorts of different directions, embedding the letters in a thick wash of colour. This one relies on familiar shapes used in ever-so-slightly unfamiliar ways, to form the shapes of letters. Although not the easiest to re-create yourself, it could be a fun one to try using your own shapes to represent each letter. If that fails, maybe it's time to get out a massive quantity of orange juice, create transparent letter moulds and take a DIY approach to the Liquid Type Fluid Experiment up at the top in the main image. It's worth a try, surely?

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