If you’re reading this it likely means you’re already familiar with the annual 36 Days of Type event. If you’re unfamiliar, however, it is self-described as “… a project that invites designers, illustrators and visual artists to express their unique interpretation of the letters and numbers of the Latin alphabet.”
My take on this year’s event was to base each glyph on a predetermined album from my music library. The record would play in the background while I took an hour(ish) to explore, refine, and vectorize the letterforms in a design-sprint fashion. This method of working set forth interesting expectations that I hadn’t foreseen. Having music to interpret directly into a visual design felt like having a client who refused to communicate via speech, and would sing instead, having the designer interpret the sounds and instruments. It also refined the design and forced me to scrap my initial ideas when it wasn’t suitable for the work.
Other factors like an established artist’s complete legacy of work and promotional artwork included in the release campaigns would sometimes subconsciously inform decisions—something I discovered after looking at the final piece closer. Sometimes my final letterform would closely mirror the type from the actual record cover. This trend was initially discouraging because the point of the process was to create something new. Eventually, I realized that both I and the original designer were simply agreeing on the solution, albeit with slightly different Bézier curves.
The final family is an awkward mixture of clashing characters—similar to the diverse characters that can be found in our own families. Some words work surprisingly well when typed out and others are a complete mess with no cohesion. That’s just what happens you design a collection of beautiful letters instead of a beautiful collection of letters, eh? The font doesn’t work because it was never meant to. However, it is available to download for free and any brave souls who feel they can use it in a project are welcome to do so—commercial work included.