When I was still in design school I remember a designer I admired mentioning that they approached designing things with an approach similar to “animisim”—i.e., the work they create is not controlled by the designer, but it has a life of its own. “What does this poster want to be? How does it want to live?” This philosophical approach to work has always stuck with me.
As a designer who uses code to create my work, I think a lot about endowing my work with life. What if instead of controlling every aspect of a design’s outcome I let the work use laws of biology determine its appearance?
What if—instead of drawing type like we have for centuries—we just let it grow on its own?
So that’s kinda what Bacterium Typographica is.
Bacterium Typographica imagines type grown in Petri dish, following the rules of letterforms but with points of under- and over-population.
I started BT a few years ago but I’m ready to dust it off and make it available to Kickstarter backers as gorgeous giclee prints.
You’ll get to pick a single character and have it “grown” for you. Every single BT specimen will be completely unique, as the laws of nature intended.
(A few of the generated Os from my initial exploration)
You can choose a letter from the alphabet.
Or you can choose something a little more modern and memetic (like a hashtag or @-symbol)
And yes, my dear type geeks, there will be an ampersand option.
Once the project is finished, you’ll be asked to provide me a character (sorry, no emoji) and then I’ll send you some options for your print. Within weeks you’ll have your own grown letterform.
Risks and challenges
I don’t expect too many challenges with this project. I will be using a local printer that I love working with (they do most of my archival prints). I’ll do a single test print before doing the whole batch just to be safe. The worst that could happen is I get a ton of backers and we’ll back up the printer and cause a delay on their end...but I’m sure they’ll dig that as much as I would :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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