London-based identity and branding company Johnson Banks often works with printing and 3D experiments. Their latest project is called Arkitypo, a 3D alphabet that recounts the history of typography as we know it.
The experiment came about when Ravensbourne, a client of Johnson Banks to develop a research project that would test and showcase the 3D and prototyping skills and technology at their site in Greenwich.
The idea was to do something typographic– to develop a “3D alphabet of alphabets.”
Each letter was researched extensively, and after a period of designing, each idea was approved and printed– some letters taking as long as eight hours. The hard work was worth it, however, because the resulting prints are simply beautiful.
Each letter is unique, and each interprets its own alphabet. For example, the letter “A” represents Aksidenz Grotesk, a forerunner of the popular font Helvetica, part of a family of early sans-serifs called grotesques. “For this design a condensed weight is ‘fractalized,’ turning a grotesque into a thing of beauty.”
The “B” is an uppercase Bodoni “B” that spirals out of the form of a Baskerville “B,” depicting visually the story of Giambattista Bodoni modelling his font after that of John Baskerville.
And so on. Each letter has a different typeface, and brings with it an interesting history. The whole alphabet is available for viewing on Johnson Bank’s website, as well as in this month’s issue of Creative Review.
Images: Johnson Banks