Experimental Typography





We already know how graphic design students work with type. But what happens when art students tackle the subject? How do they describe their motives and results? Take a look at the interesting results.

Maike Wölfl – Zapfino


Letters – This poster series is intended to convey the extensive verve of the Zapfino® typeface. It employs only the characters ‘p’, ‘z’ and a special symbol in various orientations and combinations. I was intent on using only highly reduced versions of selected characters in differing sections to create a homogeneous appearance. The up-close zoom in this configuration draws particular attention to the stroke widths and serif endings of the characters, highlighting the playful, fluid and energetic nature of Zapfino. When the viewer shifts the focus of their gaze from the black areas to the poster as a whole, additional new structures become apparent out of the resultant division into black and white areas that coexist with each in harmonious equilibrium.”
Zapfino
Zapfino

Annika Heller – Helvetica


“I consider Helvetica® to be the epitome of a linear, basic sans-serif typeface. Thanks to its clear and simple lines, it is very light and graceful in appearance. The fonts of the Helvetica family can be readily combined with each other as one can tinker with spacing and typographic strength.

Presented are extracts from two posters, which provide the initial array of forms and colours; the extent of these extracts continuously diminishes until nothing remains but pure colour and form in the very smallest variants. The viewer is drawn ever deeper into the material and concentrates on the effects of form and colour. The elements of the two source works combine with, complement and influence each other. One poster is heavy, with dark colours and angular forms, while the other is characterised by cheerful colours and rounded forms. The smaller the posters become and the fewer the colours and forms that appear, the more serene and intensive the effect becomes. It is possible to focus on the configuration of the elements, to appreciate how they exist within their space and create oppositions through miniscule differences. The various forms and colours tend to coalesce. And the result is a conflation of the two originally contrasting source posters.”
Helvetica
H

Ann-Christin Dinkhoff – Quench


“The Quench® typefamily was designed by Hannes von Döhren and published by Linotype in 2008. Quench is a typeface of broad contrasts. The internal form of the individual letters is generally rectangular, providing a machine-made, rigid effect, while the external form is rounded and seems fluid and more casual. This interaction between contrasts creates a typeface that is vibrant and energetic, if somewhat immature and naive. This inspired me to toy with this unusual typeface and use its witty charm in a child-related context. I have attempted to employ the ingenuous and naive effect I consider that Quench has for humorous purposes in my work. The graphics tell a story in the manner used in picture books for children. It is about those little household pests that everyone is glad to see the back of.”
Quench
Quench

Susanne Bonowicz – Klint


“The focus of my experimental series is the typeface Klint® designed by Hannes von Döhren. The Klint typeface family consists of 30 different fonts with five diverse stroke widths, ranging from light to black. Each of these stroke widths has three distinct widths – condensed, regular and extended – and all are available in both Roman and italic variants. The outstanding feature of the Klint typeface family is the fact that it is readily legible even in the smaller font and italic sizes. The letters K, k, R, r, g, a, S and s have a uniquely distinctive character. Taking all fonts together, the family consists of 654 separate characters. Because its design is not overly minimalist, Klint is used in a wide range of different contexts, such as magazine, catalogues and brochures, particularly in its variants light, regular and medium, but Klint is also perfect in its bold variants for headline texts in posters.

For the purposes of experimentation, I initially considered all the Klint characters both separately and in combination to obtain an overview of the array of various fonts and widths. This led me to the idea of enlarging individual characters and special symbols in different fonts and widths, which I then cut down and organised anew. This recombination and rearrangement of the character elements resulted in the creation of a completely new contextual situation that in appearance seemed to have little to do with its typographical origins. I first only used the cut-down elements in black/white and contrasting sizes and employed these to prepare a kind of experimental sketchbook. Once I had familiarised myself with the various forms, I replicated the process in a new experimental series and began using colours. Miniaturising selected forms opened up space elsewhere and resulted in other novel structures. I repeated the process several times and duplicated certain forms in randomly selected positions while removing them elsewhere. The result was a continually recurring canon of forms. I finally decided to reproduce certain of the forms using hairlines only in order to provide the composition as a whole with greater scale. The closed forms were thus emphasized more starkly, creating a certain dynamism through the aggregation of segments with accumulation of hairline structures. In all of my final drafts, I chose to use the letter ‘K’ of the typeface family as a concealed typographical element: on the one hand, this represents the initial letter of the name Klint and on the other hand, its purpose is to signal to the viewer that this poster design has been derived from purely typographical materials.”
Klint
Klint

Jana Andrlik – Neue Swift


Neue Swift® represents a reworking of the Swift typeface designed in 1986 by its Dutch creator, Gerard Unger. Appropriately, Swift has as its origin the bird, the swift (family Apodidae). The designer was inspired by the straight flight of the bird that is interrupted by sudden turns.

But there are also parallels between the typeface and the bodily build of the bird: the wings of the swift are relatively delicate in comparison with its body. The Swift typeface is also characterised by bold straight lines that are completed by relatively subtle curves, as in the case of the ‘d’. The Swift typeface was designed with the aim of improving the legibility of newspaper texts. However, Neue Swift is mainly used in contexts other than newspaper texts.

When compared with Swift, Neue Swift cannot be called a new design; it is actually an adaptation of its predecessor undertaken by Unger for Linotype. This resulted in the publication of 24 different font styles. These consist of the variants Swift Light, Swift Regular, Swift Book, Swift Bold, Swift Extra Bold and Swift Bold Condensed, with subvariants such as different font slants (e.g. italic). My essential concept for a poster using Swift was based on utilising its appearance and to render its powerful, straight ‘body’ and comparatively delicate curves but, at the same time, to slightly exaggerate these effects. This resulted in the creation of the rectangular, quite obviously geometrical forms from which curvilinear and relatively fragile forms seem to ‘emerge’.

For this purpose, I used numerous, transparent individual letters that were combined to provide the required effect. In order to somewhat limit the range of letters employed and to provide for an additional correlation with Neue Swift, I restricted myself to the letters ‘S-W-I-F-T’. I also circumscribed, as it were, the resultant forms using many tiny fully opaque ‘s’ letters in order to enhance the plasticity of the result.

I have developed and adapted this basic concept in many different ways.“
Neue Swift
Neue Swift
Neue Swift

Tim Roßberg – Garamond


“Following the maxim ‘New visions need new fonts’, the French typographer and typeface designer, Claude Garamond (1498–1561) created a font face that was subsequently, under the name ‘Garamond’, to have significant influence on the future development of typography. Its italic typeface is today still considered to represent the quintessence of aesthetic perfection, elegance and legibility. In order to pay tribute to the historical context in which the Garamond™ typeface originated - that of the French Revolution - the idea of ‘re-formation’ or ‘break-up’ plays an important underlying role in my visual concept. The deconstruction of the letters allows the individual character of the font face and its font-specific idiosyncrasies to be better appreciated. The resultant planes and spaces coalesce to form new units of meaning and combine what was previously dissociated and sequential. The viewer is motivated to logically supplement the missing sections of the letters in order to restore the accustomed harmony of line and form. While some of the letters can be easily recognised, the fragmentary structure of others means that these become similar to free form objects whose original shape it is now almost impossible to distinguish.”
Garamond
Garamond

Zeynyp Yildiz – Libelle


“I decided to create my poster series using the typeface Libelle™. The English copperplate script Libelle, designed by Jovica Veljovic, was created for use in modern design contexts. The optical effects of a copperplate script have been combined with the convenience of a modern open typeface. This typeface enabled me to fully employ my all creativity during the design process thanks to its exceptionally imaginative and dynamic forms. Following repeated duplication, copying and rearrangement of the characters, I was able to create both dynamic and very passive forms that I could combine to provide an overall effect. The colours have been very deliberately employed. By using transparent colours, I was able in some instances to impel more solid seeming structures into the background so that subtle details of the delicate forms could be better appreciated in the foreground.”
Libelle
Libelle
Libelle