Johnson Banks is the firm that took on this request from a suggestion made from their client, Ravensbourne. The request was to see if they’d take their 3D prototyping skills to the next level and create a 3D expression of the current alphabet. Each letterform is showcased in a different expression of itself – repeated, stacked, rotated, scaled, skewed, while still maintaining parts of its recognizable shape. Not only that, but each font or typeface they used – whether they chose to use the lowercase or uppercase letterform – each detail in these 3D constructions was carefully considered and reflected in the description as well. This is Arkitypo: The Final Alphabet.
Take for instance the letter “H” for a moment…
Originally designed in 1957 as Neue Haas Grotesk, its 1960 version was renamed Helvetica. Given that its name was based on ‘Helvetia’ (Latin for Switzerland) it was no surprise that it became the vanguard of the Swiss style, and the typeface of choice for corporations across the world for the last fifty years.
Now, having read that – look again at their approach. They incorporated the letterform that’s made up of all of these recognized names who use “Helvetica” as their chosen typeface for branding the company. (Nestle, Blaupunkt, Basf, Target, Kawasaki and more…)
Let’s look at the letter “C” now…
Courier was originally commissioned for 1950s IBM typewriters, but soon became the standard font throughout the then-emerging industry. As a nod to the torturous days of jammed machinery, this ‘C’ is built from a small forest of typewriter keys.
This being a little more literal in its translation is still quite clever in its expression. The execution of these typewriter keys, overlapping, stacked, rotated… they create interesting angles and shadows upon one another. They mimic the true shape of the letter, while tying back to the history of the font. Impressive interpretation!
Here’s what they created for the letter “I”
Originally designed for The Face in 1984 by Neville Brody, Industria was released publically as a font in 1989. It has a mechanical structure of straight strokes, rounded corners and square inner spaces that refer back to Art Deco and design pioneers such as Ladislav Sutnar.
This could be a sculpture I’d feature in my living room! To take a letter, observe its rigid form and then create a piece that not only adds movement… this piece also ties back to its Art Deco movement with this ultra thin case used in this industrial interpretation.
The result can be seen in this video – which shows 360 degree renders of each letter sculpture.