Typefaces do not just drop from the sky, yet not many people realize there is a designer or a team of designers behind each one. Even for graphic designers, type design is a particularly specialized niche field whose inner workings are mysterious and whose craft is often overlooked. Type design takes time. It is a laborious process that demands patience, persistence, and a hell of a lot of love for type. As a type designer myself, I wanted to make a typeface about type design, in order to share my process as well as my love for letterforms.
Timeface:Ithaka is an infographic typeface that visualizes the time investment and logic involved in type design. With the memory of my design process for my latest typeface, Ithaka (2016), still fresh in my mind and the numerous UFO (Unified Font Object) files still on my hard drive, I created a sequel typeface in which the amount of time I spent on designing a character for Ithaka determined the weight of its Timeface counterpart. Those letters that required the most effort—the "control characters," for instance—gained so much weight that they lost their white spaces and counters, ending up as blobs.
While Timeface:Ithaka is based on my process for one particular typeface, Ithaka, it also provides insights into some of the mechanics of type design. This conceptual, experimental typeface is at once a record of my thinking and a glimpse into the secret club that is the tiny world of type design. It is my hope that these exuberantly eccentric forms offer a fresh take on reimagining what a typeface can be or do, as well as pure graphic delight.
- June Shin