Nomad Typeface

anonymous's picture

Flash movie is 464k and includes sample alphabet, typing platform and design notes.

{Moderator's Note: This is a must-see and is well worth the download.}

application/x-shockwave-flashnomad
nomad_typeface.swf (464 k)

mart's picture

Sorry to post a negative comment, but I just have to say I can't stand irritating interfaces like this. Whatever typographic design message you are trying to send is completely lost on me, for one.

hrant's picture

Byoungil, an idea: have you thought of "programming" the letters to react to other letters around them? Maybe even to change over time, like in the game of Life.

David: It's not just the dictionaries that have a problem distinguishing legibility and readability...

hhp

flingford's picture

I think it's certainly legible (one is able to
distinguish one letter from another) with some
effort. In fact there's a great surprise in
discovering that they are indeed letters. I think
that's what makes this experiment so interesting,
it engages the viewer/user in ways other faces
cannot.

Rudy Vanderlans had this to say about legibility:

In regards to legibility, the Dutch designer Peter
Mertens once said it best: "Typefaces are legible.
If some things are not legible, then they are not
letters. Illegible letters do not exist.
Illegibility does not exist." That, as far as I'm
concerned, pretty much answers the question
regarding illegibility.

The full text of the interview is at
http://www.emigre.com/VanderLans.html.

It's worth noting that this has nothing to do with
readability...

//joe

hrant's picture

Thanks for making the distinction between legibility and readability. But by doing so you have effectively validated the relevance of both! The RvL quote is really too simple-minded. Saying "legibility does not exist" is like saying "communism does not exist". No concept can exist in its pure state, sure. But even though the Soviet Union was not -and could not have been- a "pure" communist state, it was certainly more communist than the USA. In the same way, Quadraat is more legible (and certainly more readable) than FF Extra. Pretending otherwise is often an escape from having to take the non-artistic issues in typography/type_design seriously, and this leads to inferior communication.

Note that intentionally downplaying legibility is something else. It's OK, as long as you have good reason to do it. But legibility *does* exist, and how!

hhp

flingford's picture

Hah. Good points. I should say that I haven't
bought RVL's argument outright. But I do think it's
useful as a way to put legibility in context.

You can see how, in the case of Nomad (and even in
the some of the old Ray Gun stuff) how the seeming
abandonment of legibility is just another design
'element' or 'treatment' (for lack of a better
word). That diminished legibility requires readers
to participate more closely or more actively. When
this is used properly it can be powerful or
delightful or engaging. Used improperly you could
lose your audience and fail to communicate your
message.

In essence I agree with you Hrant. It takes a good
understanding of the rules of legibility and
readability (and the distinctions of the two) in
order to intentionally break them and achieve a
desired result.

//joe

anonymous's picture

Dear Byoungil
'Astonishing' is the only word that comes to mind. A great tutor of mine from many years ago, Antony Froshaug RIP, would have loved the innovation and the lateral thinking behind 'Nomad'. I can't wait to see it used on the cinema screen...perhaps innovation will breed innovation with some enterprising typo0grapher out there...Congratulations again!

Tony Fahy

anonymous's picture

Help! I think my childhood Spirograph set is posessed!

I am really impressed by the interaction of the various cells, and the surprising gestalt legibilty. This really would be an interesting face for movie or web page titles. And it's fun to poke at the interactive characters and see how they react. :)

My only major design concern is that the "D" and the "O" are a bit too similar, making them hard to distinguish. Have you tried making an "O" out of three overlapping concentric cells, rather than overlapping portions of the cells, as in the "D"?

Congratulations on a truly interesting experiment.

David Thometz

anonymous's picture

Biologically speaking the cells which make up the basic building
blocks of the human body are structurally the same. Yet, in the face
of this, we still develop into recognizable individuals. How it this
so? Because each individual has a distinct DNA code which differs
from all others. The result of all this blending of individualism is a
active structure called society.

Nomad is an interactive typeface based on this socio-biological
diagram of human society, where basically each character
(biological entity) consists of independent cells each with their
own given code. Once typed, these codes work together to form the
Nomad characters. As these characters grow into words, sentences
and eventually paragraphs they in turn from lager reactive structures
each with their own unique identities.

Unlike other typefaces in its similarity to biological creatures,
Nomad relies on its complex structure and its ability to react to
touch to create a more fluid relationship between the user and itself.
Based on the aforementioned principles, I have designed two prototype
versions of the Nomad typeface. One, which manifests its independent
of external stimuli through motion, and the second which has an
interactive component that reacts to external stimulus, thus allowing
it to recognize the presence of the user.

Handwriting allows one to establish the existence of its creator as it
differs from person to person. Nomad act like handwriting in a network
situation expressing the existence of the other user through the state of
its interactivity or motion. As a result of this type of mediation we can
begin to be felt across the network.
(originally Nomad was developed for touch screen)

Thanks for the advice. It encourage me to do another project.

anonymous's picture

Whow, that's one of the most interesting graphical type experiments I've seen in a long time. But I wouldn't use the word legibility anywhere near it. It's art based on letters, but would fail as a means of passing on information. And it just kept me from work for a surprisingly long time :-)

anonymous's picture

Gerhard:

I agree, this isn't a typeface that anyone should use to set a text block. That's why I was careful to use the word "gestalt" when describing its legibility. (Is "readability" perhaps the preferred term here? All of my dictionaries give almost identical definitions for the two words, i.e., "capable of being read.")

In any event, it is fascinating how the cells' overlapping shapes coalesce into recognizable glyphs that can and do, in fact, succeed in communicating information. Not large amounts of information, mind you, but with proper attention paid to spacing, setting and context, this typeface certainly lends itself to display/head information.

David Thometz

anonymous's picture

that's a lot of fun.

have you seen peter cho's
type me, type me not ?

http://acg.media.mit.edu/people/pcho/portfolio/typemenot.html

It makes me wonder what animation between letterforms would look like....

small points:
Seemed a little slow on my mac. Is there something that can be done to speed it up/make the file size smaller? If the animation is tweened, try adding a blank 1 sec audio sample set to stream. It'll force the movie to keep up with the audio and drop frames...
Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the small interior circles...

-zach

hrant's picture

Dear Byoungil,
I don't know what to say! This is simply too cool to exist. A lot of people talk about making letters move, taking them into the 4th dimension, blah blah blah, but 99% of it is just boring crap. This is the real thing, and I for one will be spending a lot of time looking at/into it, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot from it. Keep it up!

hhp

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