As part of a commission from the world’s largest type foundry, Field—a studio led by Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Glahn that delivers branded art for a global audience, whose work we have admired in the past—created three animated murals, exploring Monotype’s typefaces through light, color, and motion.
Called “Type Reinvented,” Field has created three murals so far. The first, Sensual Power, was presented at Le Book in Paris, and allowed visitors to interact with some of Monotype’s more popular typefaces using Kinect-like motion sensing.
The second, Glyph.Index, is my personal favorite. First commissioned by Google, Noto is a font family that is unique in that it is designed to cover every single character and glyph in the Unicode standard. That means it contains more than 120,000 characters: so many characters that the chances of you naturally stumbling upon them all are infinitesimally small. Shown at the Resonate Festival in Belgrade, Glyph.Index uses multi-hued characters from Noto Sans as pixels in a rhythmic, playful, and constantly changing digital piece.
The last mural is called Responsive Energy, and was shown at Cannes Lion. Similar to Sensual Energy, without the interactive aspect, Responsive Energy dynamically displays different Monotype animations as luminous, twisting, animations, making them appear as well-produced as a Hollywood production company bumper.
It’s tempting to dismiss this sort of animation as pretty, but without substance. I think, though, animation is actually in some ways a more natural way of interacting with type. The truth is that the vast majority of the typefaces we use are obscured from us. At best, we use a handful of characters in a language or two, while 90% or more of a typeface’s design details are locked away in a file on our computer. Animation allows type to be liberated from the black box of a font file, exploring and highlighting the beauty of its design details in a way that print doesn’t often allow.