03 july 2022 — presentations
Inside the letter

Instead of presenting our recent findings and points of views in a lecture, we’ve used the opportunity of giving a lecture to develop new findings and points of views in recent years. A satisfactory turnaround in approach. Contemporary technological developments not only affect the design process (not only of letters, but of any design process), but also have an impact on how letters are used, and what a letter is. A lecture is a good moment to reflect on this, by developing new thoughts, making new demos, sketching new ideas, or making new designs.

Coming Thursday 7 July 2022 we’ll give a lecture at the International Conference on Typography and Visual Communication in Thessaloniki, Greece. This time we’re gonna explore what’s inside the letter.
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12 may 2022 — walhalla
Read Naked raffle

This week it has been 20 years since the typeface Sauna was released with the Secret Sauna Party in Berlin. It was the first opportunity to test the book Read Naked inside a hot sauna, because some parts of the book only become visible at 80° Celsius or higher. We made this publication together with Dutch designer Piet Schreuders, and the production – printing on Neobond paper (the Rolls Royce of papers), binding without using glue – guaranteed the publication would survive a serious sauna visit. Drying instructions to get the book back into the bookshelf are included on page 1.

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16 march 2022 — out now
Homo Scriptus

Homo Scriptus, collection Printemps de la Typographie 2022
 

Homo Scriptus
Grammatographic haute couture available as NFT

On Thursday the 10th of March, our lecture ‘Homo Scriptus’ at the Printemps de la Typographie conference in Paris took place at the end of the Paris fashion week. This lecture was the final part of our Parisian Pen Triptych and ended with a fashion show of Homo Scriptus: Underware’s new label for grammatographic haute couture.

 

Lecture Homo Scriptus at Printemps de la Typographie 2022, Paris
 

Grammatographic haute couture
By adding an algorithmic layer on top of OpenType COLRv1 fonts, Homo Scriptus delivers, on the one hand, a typographic system that can be used and applied as any other font. But at the same moment each letter comes with its own dynamics and texture. For this first collection of Homo Scriptus, Printemps de la Typographie 2022, Underware worked closely with the Dutch fashion designer and artist Tessa Bekker. This collaboration led to 33 unique models, which are based on the general subject write, copy, play. All models are build upon the recently published typeface Plakato and are sold as unique NFTs on OpenSea.

Homo Scriptus as NFT
Based upon our experience with other new technological developments in the past, like variable fonts and color fonts, we believe in the benefit of staying curious. And while NFTs have led to many controversial opinions, it is interesting that most of them reflect on the usage of NFTs by some people (the financial aspect) and the shortcoming of the current technological implementation (the energy aspect). But considering that we have been using digital communication like PDFs and email already for many years – also because of ecological reasons – it seems somehow logical that a digital setup will take at the end fewer resources than one based on true products and deliveries. Therefore we decided to keep Homo Scriptus in the digital realm.

At the same time, it is interesting to look at the core principles of NFT, like decentralised distribution and smart contracts, and how they can be used to create a different relation between the maker and the owner. By distributing Homo Scriptus as NFT on OpenSea, we can guarantee on the one hand that the whole collection will always stay visible for everybody in the future, but at the same time create a possibility to engage for everybody who is interested in getting involved with us in this adventure. In the end, the future of NFT will be created just like the internet: it will become what we make out of it.

Homo Scriptus Haute Couture, Printemps de la Typographie 2022 Collection, Model PT2022-M1, courtesy Kenny Schachter, USA
 

OpenSea & digital haute couture
Each model of Homo Scriptus is for sale for €33 on OpenSea. Purchasing a model makes you the official owner of this model. If you have never used OpenSea before and do not have a digital wallet, we recommend using MetaMask. Once you have created an account, you can add Ethers (the cryptocurrency) with your credit card and you are ready to go.

In the recent months, more and more fashion brands added a virtual companion to their physical collection, allowing their customer to wear Haute Couture in the virtual space. And while it is also (theoretical) possible to wear Homo Scriptus in the purely virtual space, it is created with he idea to connect the virtual with the physical. Therefore each model is a pre-generated counting loop, which you can for example install on a watch. (If you are the owner of an NFT and are interested in wearing your model on an AppleWatch, please get in contact with us. We are happy to help you out.)

Explore the NFT collection on OpenSea.

04 march 2022 — presentations
Homo Scriptus (Pen Triptych III)

Thursday 10 March 2022 we’ll give a lecture at the Printemps de la Typographie, organised by l’école Estienne in Paris. Those who can remember previous editions, that’s before the pandemic, will remember we gave a lecture a the last 2 editions of this one day seminar. As usual we only understand what we’re doing while we’re doing it, and we came to the conclusion that we’ve actually been telling one long story at the Printemps de la Typographie, started in 2019, continued in 2020, and we’re gonna finish that story in 2022 with the lecture ‘Homo Scriptus’. Therefore it would be a pleasure to see you coming Thursday in Paris at the final episode of our Pen Triptych. Other lectures by Emmanuël Souchier, Charles Gautier, Gabriele Cepulyte, Jean Alessandrini and Olivier Nineuil, Sophie Cure, Esther Szac & André Baldinger.

Tickets and more info here.

19 january 2022 — publications
New publication: Manicule specimen


It’s been a well-kept secret, but we often design specific 👉 manicules to fit the style of a typeface and include those in our fonts. Those pointing hands are the subject of a small publication.

This month we hooked up with publishing house De Buitenkant, drukkerij Jan de Jong & zetterij Chang Chi Lan-Ying, for a Copper Monday print (a Dutch printing tradition) and made a Manicule specimen (Dutch title is ‘Handjesproef’ 😘).

This illustrated essay on the manicule, which briefly tells its transition from the margins of 12th century books up to the vaults of contemporary typefaces, brings our love for carefully designed manicules in the open. This publication is therefore not a type specimen, but rather a manicule specimen, in which each manicule is presented in combination with the typeface to which it belongs.

This publication is not for sale, but if you want to obtain a copy, join our raffle.

19 january 2022 — walhalla
Manicule specimen raffle

A special edition for a special occasion! Our manicule specimen is printed on leftovers of the printing shop. Therefore 6 different editions exists: different paper, different color. So in a way every edition is a special edition. However, there is also a special special edition. There is a 7th version of this publication, not distributed at all, with an incredible mirroring golden cover. Our manicule specimen is not for sale, but we’re giving a way 10 copies of this triple-X special special edition in the one and only Manicule Specimen Raffle. You can win, win, win!

Win a free copy!
Participation is easy. In case you’re interested to win a copy of this manicule specimen (100% for free), just send an email before 31 January 2022 to raffle@underware.nl with your postal address, saying “I Want It That Way!” (Incomplete or missing postal addresses are invalid submissions). We’ll randomly pick 10 addresses and send the winners a golden edition by post. This publication is not for sale, this is your only chance. Join now!

05 january 2022 — out now
New font: Plakato Color

Digital fonts offer more and more possibilities compared to 30 years ago. A font can support multiple scripts, can provide typographic finesse through smart OpenType features, can be dynamic, and can also contain color.

While most fonts are colourless, or rather have only one colour that can be changed by the user, there are plenty of examples of fonts that do contain multiple colours. Emojis are the best known and most widespread examples.

Recently, a new standard has been published (COLRv1) that makes advanced colour fonts possible, with gradients and transparency. Today we release a set of fonts that take advantage of the new possibilities this font format offers.

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03 december 2021 — out now
New font: Plakato

Plakato is a small family of display fonts, where each style has its own characteristics. Plakato is the happy chap, a no-nonsense stencil font with a lot of additional powers, that amiable person you call for help when your message needs to be heard/seen.

Varying from a very fat stencil font family (sure, with flashy italics), up to a neon version, or a font which is constructed out of a few different building blocks in Plakato style. And did we already mention the digital nostalgia in Plakato Game (designed on a C64), and all those extra emoji’s and dingbats? Now we did.

Plakato is an identity toolkit, a heavyweight building block in case you need a strong personality, a small stencil font family to cut out your best ideas and grab all the attention.

Enjoy Plakato!

 

Introduction offer: Let’s Plaka-To-gether
Order the complete Plakato package, and get a free license for a friend.
This introduction offer runs until 31 Dec 2021.

(We don’t join the discount race to the bottom. We think it’s much nicer to make yourself happy and at the same time share your happiness with a friend. Together is always more fun than alone.)

03 december 2021 — out now
Plakato Play Compendium

 

The release of Plakato, a collection of eye-catching display fonts, was a two-stage rocket. A set of static fonts & set of dynamic fonts. The static and dynamic fonts share their design, but each dynamic font has its own specific motion and capabilities. Plakato Play is a versatile set of 8 ingenious variable fonts to play with. These variable fonts go beyond the now common width and weight axes and have their own dynamics designed for each style. This newly designed movement brings new possibilities for expression and interaction in text. (For more background, see also the case study The dynamification of typography).

In 1972, Karl Gerstner published his infamous book about the systematics of typography: Kompendium für Alphabeten. In the same spirit we now show, 50 years later, what the results of a systematic approach for OpenType Variable Fonts can be, on the basis of Plakato Play. The Plakato Play Compendium shows 26 possibilities for dynamic type.

Plakato Play Compendium

03 december 2021 — publications
The dynamification of typography

 

Because Plakato, our latest font release, consists of a set of static as well as a collection of dynamic fonts, this is a suitable moment to reflect on changes in the practice of a type designer. Accompanied with videos of dynamic versions of Plakato, this case study touches the question if the dynamics of a design should be defined by the user or by its creator, and what it means that type became dynamic.

Read the case study: The dynamification of typography.

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