When is a typeface more than a typeface?
In 2015 I once again collaborated with pioneering biochemist and experimental photographer Linden Gledhill, this time for the creation of a conceptual, ornamental type system and a series of accompanying, one-of-a-kind letterpress prints.
The project, Fe2O3 Glyphs, aimed to not only transcend the traditional role of a typeface - to provide a consistent and coherent platform for communication - but to completely invert it. The design of the characters is given over to an evolving, unrepeatable process involving ferrofluid, and the ‘grid’ at the heart of the typeface is generated by conflicting magnetic field lines. Crucially, the medium dictates the forms of the typeface, as opposed to the other way around.
The result is a complex series of hieroglyphics - each one as unique as a snowflake - that call to mind both ancient indigenous markings and symbols from science fiction. These forms were traced as vectors and cast as both a working .otf typeface and also as a unique moveable type printing system, combinations of which will be used to create a series of one off prints where no arrangement of glyphs is ever repeated. To bring the project full circle, the prints will be created using a mixture of actual ferrofluid and Pantone Pure Black printers ink.
The Fe2O3 Glyphs project perfectly marries contemporary scientific process with a centuries old printing process. It questions what a typeface is and what it can be. The prints and typeface will be available through a Kickstarter campaign launching at the end of this month and ending on September 30th.