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Three successfully funded typographic projects to notice

Kickstarter proves once again one of the most inspiring platforms for the creators of our times. Here we present you with three projects that caught our attention, three evidences that the road to perfection is paved with good intentions and even better supporters for your cause.

FeO Glyphs by Craig Ward & Linden Gledhill
“When is a typeface more than a typeface?” wondered the unorthodox and multi-award winning typographer Craig Ward who has once again collaborated with pioneering biochemist and experimental photographer Linden Gledhill for the creation of a generative, ornamental typeface and an accompanying series of original, one-of-a-kind, letterpress art prints in black and gold ferrofluid / ink mixes and a new white embossed version. In case you are wondering why, their answer is straight-forward. “Because science. And curiosity. Fe₂O₃ Glyphs (Fe₂O₃ being the main component of the kind of ferrofluid we used) aims to transcend the traditional role of a typeface - to provide a consistent and coherent platform for communication - and to completely invert it. The typically fastidious design of the glyphs is dictated by the printing medium itself and given over to an unrepeatable organic process. The ‘grid’ at its heart is replaced by conflicting magnetic field lines.”


                             Embossed ‘White on White’ version - where no ink is used for a very subtle effect

This is how it’s done. “To form the glyphs, a tiny amount of ferrofluid - a kind of magnetic ink, originally developed by NASA in the 1960’s - was placed between two glass plates and subjected to a combination of spinning vertical and horizontal magnetic fields. The result is an array of complex hieroglyphics and shapes - each one as unrepeatable as a snowflake - that simultaneously call to mind ancient indigenous markings or symbols from science fiction.”

This is a project that perfectly marries contemporary scientific process with a centuries old printing process and that is obviously one of the main reasons it is a success.


                             Unmounted 12 inch print depicting 16 glyphs


                             A single gold ferrofluid glyph


                             Meet the cast: 138 unique characters

 

Fontself by Franz Hoffman
“Fontself instantly turns your favorite creative software into font creation tools. Draw / sketch / paint / scan or photograph your alphabet. Select it. Done.” This is the task Hoffman accomplished and now everyone will easily turn our lettering into usable, colorful fonts, to sell or share them right within Photoshop & Illustrator.


                            Your iPhone’s camera as the hippest font creation tool around. Now please, #GoFontYourself

“You will be able to create fonts that display all the color range and visual richness of your designs: whether you’re using felt-tip pens to doodle your creative lettering, watercolor or ink to shade your titles, a pencil to sketch alphabets, or a stylus to draw perfect letters.

These tools will allow to maximize your creative potential... We simply ask that you please use this responsibly :-).

For Hoffman creativity should never be constrained by the tools we use. “Whether you love the precision of vector shapes, the contrast of black and white typography, or the organic richness of colorful handmade lettering, you should be able to create fonts with whichever tool suits you best to keep that creativity intact.”


                             WYSIWYG real-time font editing (slim font by Mathieu Julien)

So is this a font creation tool for everyone? Is typeface design redefined? Hoffman believes so all the way back to 2006. “It all started back then, in an attic. A graphic designer (Pierre Terrier), a coder (Marc Escher) and I (Franz Hoffman) came up with this crazy idea to redefine font creation processes and type technologies to turn the impossible possible: making font creation accessible to anyone and unlocking the potential of colorful, expressive typography. We called this project Fontself and made a printed manifesto, showcasing the innovations we had crafted to make colorful & handmade typography a reality, in a big A3 600dpi printed book. Since then, the project has had a fairly rocky journey” he adds of a dream that is kept alive. “Well, today, it’s 2015, and I am back in town with exciting new tools to share, and many more to come. Because, every single day, I remember what the old man used to say:  

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”


                            One-click font creation process (calligraphy by Orietta Batzakis)

 

Gratiot & Riopelle Type Foundry by Jessica Krcmarik
“Gratiot and Riopelle is a locally-inspired and focused type foundry inspired by Detroit signage. As I archive found signage around the city, I’ll find similarities in the lettering styles and create fonts inspired by the look of individual neighborhoods, then provide them as pay-what-you-can downloads” says Krcmarik of her successfully funded project. She shares the same belief with all of the above. For her design should be accessible to everybody.


East Warren Ave & Barham

“Currently, there aren’t any pay-what-you-can fonts based on Detroit signage, but there are a lot of small businesses looking for affordable design, and even more areas that are losing their unique visual identity. As analog signs are removed, the neighborhood’s landscape becomes more uniform as the use of pre-fabricated signs is encouraged. By creating a usable font based on the signs in a particular area, and making it available to small businesses in that area, the visual culture lives on even if the sign it’s based on is painted over or destroyed.”

Her main challenge and risk is time. “Old signs and handpainted murals are being regularly painted over by the city in a (slightly misguided) effort to reduce blight -- so, if I can’t get to these quickly enough, they’ll be painted over, sometimes even if the sign is on an open business who paid for the work.”

This is a project of paying it forward. “I’ve been a freelance designer for several years, thanks in part to a supportive local design community. I’m confident I’ll continue to get feedback on the fonts in this project from other designers in my shared studio and around the city to keep everything faithful to the source material.”

Oh, what a wonderful world.