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 12the 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.

28 june 2021 — walhalla
Grammato awarded

German Design Award for Grammato:
expressive writing with dynamic letters

After having already won awards in New York and Tokyo, we have once again been awarded a prestigious international prize, the German Design Award Gold. Underware received this award for their invention of a new way of writing, writing with dynamic letters. This makes it possible for authors as well as designers to manifest themselves more expressively through text.

Grammatography
Until now, texts have always been either handwritten or typed using a static font. With grammatography, Underware introduces a third way of writing that combines both worlds: the expressive possibilities of handwritten text combined with the accessibility of digital texts. This allows search engines to still recognize, index and translate these personal texts, but also creates the ability to influence the expression of the letters: the “tone” of the text.

Using the Higher Order Interpolation technique developed by Underware, it is possible to deform letters in such a way as to create a new form of expression that is not possible with static letters. This was recently shown at the exhibition From Typography to Grammatography at the Print Gallery in Tokyo. As Akiem wonders: “Why can’t letters be deformed and played the same way music is played with a piano?” Because this new technology is based on the existing technological standard of digital letters, it can be applied in any software environment. From social media to operating systems, from apps to interfaces, from smartphones to washing machines.

 

The dream of the writing machine
The desire for a writing machine and a more expressive use of letters is not new. For example, the French watchmaker Jaquet Droz built a writing doll as early as 1770, and Steve Jobs presented the first Macintosch with the now legendary computer-written demo “insanely great” to the public in 1984. The major difference with grammatography is that in those two cases it was only a simulation. With grammatography, the dream of a writing machine – a machine that can write as beautifully as a human – is now finally realized, available on any computer.

Enthusiastic reception
“Why is writing with letters as static today as it was with Gutenberg 500 years ago? It’s 2021, right?”, Bas asks himself. The judges of the Type Directors Club in Tokyo and also New York, and of the German Design Award in Frankfurt also saw this as true, which is why they independently awarded grammatography. In their view, grammatography will have a great impact not only on the future of written language, but above all on the idea of writing as such.

 

In case you have questions, or want to know more, just contact us.
German Design Award: https://www.german-design-award.com

28 may 2021 — walhalla
Summer workshop BAM BAM BAM


BAM BAM BAM
Workshop introduction to type design

This 3-day workshop offers designers the opportunity to delve further into type design, while at the same time investigating the relationship between spoken and written language. How does sound relate to writing?

Workshop
This workshop is aimed at young graphic designers who want to develop their typographic skills further by immersing themselves in the design and creation of their own typeface. In this 3-day workshop, in which sketches will be made alternately on paper and digitally, the basic principles of type design will be explained, and a digital font will eventually be made. But since letters can also be a visual representation of spoken language, during this process other possibilities to represent spoken language & sound on paper, beyond the existing conventions, will simultaneously be investigated.

Despite the fact that designing a font family usually takes several years, this entire process will be covered in a bird’s eye view during the workshop in just 3 days. Just BAM BAM BAM.

Skill level
Experience with drawing bezier outlines is desirable, for example in Illustrator or another comparable drawing program.

What do you need to bring?
• Laptop (preferably with OSX)
• Pencils, pens and markers
• Sketch paper
• Tape & scissors

Costs
€95,– for pros
€75,– for students

Apply
• Apply until 18 July 2021
• Workshop will be held in English
• Lunch is included
• Max 15 participants
• Participants will be selected based on motivation
• Location: Ingehousz Breda, the Netherlands

Applications can be made until the 27th of June at graphicmatters.nl

07 may 2021 — walhalla
Stad zoekt kunst

It started with a spontaneous action 3 weeks ago, a manifestation at the Museumplein in Amsterdam to break the absence of art in lockdown times. We helped out the organisation by casually writing personal ads on location, allowing participants to walk around with their own message in XXL size. One writing tool, one colour, no planning, no time to waste, 100% action, pure speed.

 

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05 may 2021 — custom type
Kone custom fonts

During the past decade we’ve teamed up with KONE Corporation, one of the world’s largest companies in the elevator and escalator industry, for whom we have developed a whole range of typographic tools. The initial set of custom fonts was meant to unify their products, but meanwhile the custom fonts kept expanding and turned into a universal and valuable branding tool. Read the case study

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