ON 2040 - MASTER TYPE DESIGN

ON 2040 - MASTER TYPE DESIGN

Following a collaboration with the Swiss avant-garde brand On, ECAL is proud to present the interdisciplinary work carried out jointly by the 2nd year students of the Product Design, Photography and Type Design Masters.

Collaboration (2022) by Elena Baranowski, Giacomo Bastianelli, Dominik Bissem, Laura Zsófia Csocsán, Karima Deghayli, Charly Derouault, Sam Fagnart, Stefan Fitze, Amélie Gallay, Raphaela Häfliger, Alexandre Lescieux, Sergei Rasskazov, Samira Schneuwly, Joana Siniavskaja

Professors
Larissa Kasper
Tags
type design, visual identity, calligraphy
Under the direction of Larissa Kasper, artistic director invited by the MA in Type Design, 14 students question the construction of written language, and explore its futuristic developments, both alphabetical and ideographic. For On, they offer a new writing system, which will accompany the sole of the future.

In 2010 On created a new running shoe sole with a disruptive approach: CloudTec®. Built around a set of “flexible elements”, On soles ensure cushioned landing and propulsive take-off for a unique running sensation. This design has since been adopted by running enthusiasts and professionals alike. Nowadays, the search for new materials and technologies encourages the brand to explore the future of soles. It is in this perspective that the collaboration between two leading entities in the Swiss design scene – ECAL and On – was born.


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Searching for an answer to what type of writing system could be readable for a machine in the distant future, this abstract typeface is based on a circular 5-channel encoding system, working similarly to linear punchcards. There are 25 punch combinations in the 5-channel type system, meaning 32 places to encode letters, which can host the basic Latin alphabet. Visually, the typeface was inspired by cuneiform writing, which uses the stylus on clay tablets to punch ‘holes’ in the material. This aesthetic has been warped into signifying a punch on a few of the 5 places and providing each character with a unique combination of digits and forms.

By Laura Zsófia Csocsán


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The concept of this dystopian writing system is inspired by the artwork The Garden of Earthly Delights (1490-1510) by Hieronymus Bosch and its tripartite structure. The Trinity takes the main role and divides the static skeleton vertically into 3 sections: Positive, Neutral, Negative; Birth, Life, Death; The Garden of Eden, The Garden of Delights and Hell. Round, angular and diagonal capital letters of the Latin alphabet are arranged in categories. With the help of 3 defined basic shapes: circle, square and line, the characters are constructed on its defined skeleton. Altogether, the writing system consists of 24 characters – the manuscript was painted analogue with black ink on translucent paper and emphasizes the dystopian character.

By Dominik Bissem


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Between typography and pictogram, our design is evolving. Inspired by the geometric forms already present in the On logotype, we have rationalized to the extreme the concept of a refined and methodical graphic system. By a new problematic of the coded language, associated with contemporary technologies, a completely modular encrypted typography was drawn. The pictograms and letters are composed by a very simple system of curves and lines which evolve and are assembled on a square grid, divided in 4. The only rule being that the forms cannot be superimposed the ones on the others. The script is programmed under Python language, allowing to generate and to exhaust the whole of the possible ones, that is to say 624 pictograms only composed of curves, having to represent the sport, the movement and always assembled within the same grid.

By Charly DerouaultAlexandre Lescieux


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Over the course of our time, language and communication will evolve in such a way that current writing systems no longer suffice. While there will still be translation methods for older systems still known to us, the writing system of the future will free itself from present rules and conventions and organically evolve into something exceedingly more complex.

By Stefan Fitze


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The blob is a mysterious unicellular slim mold creature growing into networks. Famous for its supposed immortality, it has also been showing signs of learning capabilities. After many years of scientific studies and stimulation, it is finally able to communicate with us in 2040. By using a morpheme-based system, the blob can express complex ideas with its web-like growths. As seen in this transcription (to be read clockwise), each tentacle and intersections represent a basic concept which is then extrapolated into sentences and finally a full text.

By Amélie Gallay


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New proposal for sending out a message to the future about ON 20(40). This new form of constructed language and writing system is inspired by the thermal-transfer printing technics. This digital printing method is used when fast and higher durability of printed matter (especially against heat) is desired. This « New Alphabet » offers a set of uppercase characters, as well as numbers and has been developed during the one-week workshop.

By Elena Baranowski


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In the far future, human beings will communicate in whole new ways, we will understand the world around us in a much more complex way. The two-dimensional way of reading will be slowly replaced by three-dimensional holograms, capable of giving us a faster prediction of what is written. Based on the Spatial reasoning IQ tests exercises, this new writing system helps the reader draw conclusions about shapes based on limited information. Each face of the regular polyhedron will have a unique symbol on it (letter) and the Platonic solid will represent the complexity of the entire word. Holograms are a perfect solution when we don’t want our communication to be framed on a surface, but with this system, we could still write on psychical objects by simply unfolding the polyhedron into a 2D Pattern.

By Giacomo Bastianelli


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Over the course of our time, language and communication will evolve in such a way that current writing systems no longer suffice. While there will still be translation methods for older systems still known to us, the writing system of the future will free itself from present rules and conventions and organically evolve into something exceedingly more complex.

By Stefan Fitze


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In order to create a “new alphabet” that could potentially store knowledge about ON 2040(0) and transmit it into the future, I developed a constructed writing system consisting of two different styles. Both styles are built on the same basis. While the more organic style has a line system for better differentiation of the individual “characters”, the restrained one has a subtle feature consisting of different stroke lengths on the edges. Despite the technical appearance, the two styles enable a visual structure of the content into different information levels, which should help decrypt the message in the future.

By Samira Schneuwly


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Klaudz is designed to visually represent speech sounds in a written form by means of symbols. The script is based on a so-called phonetic transcription, whose basic principle is that it is applicable to all languages. Since its symbols denote the same phonetic properties, they break away from a language-bound orthography. Thinking of 2040, when internationality and the spoken language are gaining more importance, it is obvious to explore the forms of expression of an alternative phonetic script. The shapes of the letters derive from an underlying grid (the IPA vowel table), which in turn corresponds to the positions of the vowels resulting from the physical position of a speaker’s tongue when pronouncing those sounds. There is a round and a non-round version of each. The consonants are integrated into the script according to their groupings as diacritical marks.

By Raphaela Häfliger