December 2013, Typeradio held a two day workshop in cooperation with Indra Kupferschmid and 10 students of the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste (HBK Saar) in Saarbrücken, Germany. Each student was assigned a typeface, designed by a Dutch designer, along with the assignment: ‘translate the typeface into a one minute sound piece’. The resulting 10 sound pieces were the starting point of another workshop, in collaboration with Jan Willem Stas and the students of the Type]Media 2014 typography master coarse in The Hague, The Netherlands. Each T]M student was handed an (anonymously labelled) sound piece and their challenge was to ‘create a typeface concept inspired by the sound’. The results were quite surprising!
1) Original typeface: Nitti by Pieter van Rosmalen
2) Sound piece by Sebastian Knöbber
3) Chinese whispered typeface by Jasper Terra
Jasper’s first impressions of the sound piece where: Apple (start up), clock, time, typing, typewriter, deadline, copy writer. The sound was rhythmic in a mechanical or systematic way (clock) but human and a-rhythmic at the same time (typing). The initial sketches focussed on the systematic rhythm (the ticking could be the distance between stems), and led toward a monospaced letter that could be used on screen or a typewriter. Perhaps by someone working in a cubicle or office environment, who has a deadline but at the same time aspirations of being a writer. The combination of the systematic and human led to the final idea; a small family of two fonts; the first a sans that fits obediently into a cubicle (monospaced) and is used on screen at the office, the other breaking out of the cubicle with more organic forms and serifs (based on the leaf of the Apple logo) for use on the book cover of an aspiring writer.