Monotype X KnownUnknown: Helvetica the NFT
Helvetica is everywhere, all the time and there are reasons for this. Helvetica is neutral and easy to read; its different weights and styles effectively embody almost any meaning or message, it is plain yet modern and timeless.
Arguably one of the most used, beloved, and polarizing, typefaces in the world Helvetica’s entry into Web3 was inevitable. Now, Monotype & KnownUnknown collaborate to develop Monotype’s first-ever digital art collection with unique creations rooted in the popular sans-serif typeface developed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann and its latest instalment, the variable Helvetica Now.
“The collection celebrates Helvetica and the role of typography in culture. The collection explores several ideas and mediums, unique and personal to each artist, all converted to digital formats and available as NFTs beginning later this month” notes Monotype that partnered with more than two dozen prolific artists around the world, working in mediums such as graphic design, branding, footwear design, and photography, for this unique digital collection that celebrates the influential font while introducing it to the challenging metaverse.
“This project is not intended to be short-term, it is to foster a community of type enthusiasts, designers, and builders for a digital future. We are still learning how to operate in this nascent space, alongside many others” explains Monotype who directly addressed “the understandable skepticism that many shared” in response to its decision to bring Helvetica in the NFT format.
“We know there are many questions of authenticity and legitimacy related to NFTs. Our intention with this project is to produce a legitimate collection with access to prolific artists from a variety of disciplines… We cannot guess or comment on the value of these NFTs over time, but we can say that the spirit of this project is to engage the design community, not to ride the wave of NFTs for a short-term financial gain.”
Regarding the environmental impact of this initiative Monotype explains that when the company “embarked on this project, it was very important for us to engage with a blockchain partner that would not be harsh on the environment. Moreover, it was very important to the artists that we partner with a sustainable provider which was a demand we were happy to meet. The predominant blockchain used for NFT minting relies on what is known as a ‘proof of work’ mechanism, requiring considerable energy allocation. After much review of other ‘proof of stake’ chains that are more environmentally friendly, our project decided to partner with Avalanche ($AVAX)” for its “focus on sustainability, and the balance of cost & energy efficiency.”
For Monotype creating an “on-ramp” for people to start engaging in the NFT ecosystem is another goal of this project.
“There is enormous potential for how this technology could be applied to our industry in the future, and for us, the best way to learn is to build. Still, we know we have a responsibility to our audience and to our industry to produce projects of quality and integrity…. And of course, we hope that you will participate in this ecosystem with us. But we also know that NFTs do not appeal to everyone. We will continue to act in good faith, work to build something you will want to be a part of, and be fully transparent about our learnings along the way – so that they can help everyone in the design community participate in this new ecosystem” notes Monotype.
Stay up to speed with the project here.