Atipo Paints Characters On Face For Fontface

  • Fonts in Use
Fonts in Use | Yves Peters | March 15, 2011

Last month I learned about two beautiful typographic projects via FontShop BeNeLux (contrary to what some people think, that’s not me managing their social media). Both projects were created by Atipo, a small studio located in Gijón in Asturias in the north of Spain. It was set up by Raúl García del Pomar and Ismael González in the beginning of 2010. After working in other graphic design, web design, and branding studios, the two partners wanted to start a more personal venture. This new studio allows them to approach projects from different perspectives, freely combine all the disciplines they love, such as typography and type design, photography, illustration, video, and so on. The first project is Fontface, a series of posters merging the expressiveness of manual gesture and type design in honour of four outstanding typefaces.

fontface from atipo on Vimeo.

Where did you get the idea for this series of typographic posters?

“During the first year after setting up the new studio we investigated a lot in the field of typography. On the one hand we developed the serif face Calendas for one of our projects, and we are currently working on another type design which will be revealed in a few months. On the other hand we wanted to do a series of typographic posters celebrating four classic typefaces, but approaching them from an unexpected angle. We had the original idea when viewing the series Paradise portraits by Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf. This convinced us that the marriage of make-up and typography could produce beautiful and convincing results that would stir the typography world.”

How did the posters take shape?

“The entire series – from concept over make-up to photography and video – was executed by members of the studio. The characters were drawn directly on the model’s face, without digital projection or any other technical assistance, taking only reference from a sketch on the laptop monitor. We preferred the process to be gestural and organic, where the imperfections created by the act of painting by hand add to the expressiveness of the design.”

“The model is Laura; she is a graphic designer too. She loved the idea, and was very patient during the long sessions – make-up sessions lasted between 2 or 3 hours for each fontface, plus an hour or two to shoot the poster. The photo sessions were spread over time during the summer of 2010, but the posters only went public when our website went live last week.”

How did you select the characters?

“The series of posters features four typefaces designed by four outstanding designers. Through the combination of the expressiveness of manual gesture and type design, we made a brief journey through the history of typography. We started with an old style roman – the transitional face Caslon (William Caslon, 1725); passing via a slab serif – Clarendon (William Thorrowgood, 1845); a grotesque sans – Helvetica (Max Miedinger & Eduard Hoffmann, 1957); to a fat face didoneCarousel (Gary Gillot, 1966). We selected characters that show the main features of each typeface; and, most importantly, functioned well as a mask on the model’s face.”

Is this series self-initiated or commissioned?

“We believe that to create without limitations is only truly possible with a self-initiated project, and Fontface is one of them. This series of posters allowed us to bring together different disciplines we feel passionate about: typography, painting, photography, and video. Furthermore, we wanted to create a series of posters to decorate our studio. This turned out to be more successful than we expected, because we’ve had many reactions from people asking us where to get the posters. Now we are planning to sell them in a limited edition.”

The soundtrack to the video is Gi Hop from Dan Berglund’s 2010 album Tonbruket.

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  1. Any date on when these will be available for purchase?

    Posted by Janelle on Mar. 16, 2011
  2. I’ll ask the guys at Atipo.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Mar. 16, 2011
  3. I don’t know… just looks like a bunch of Juggalos to me ;)

    And in this case I AM down with the clown.

    Posted by Nikko Maharaj on Mar. 17, 2011
  4. Oh yes! Even I want!

    Posted by Arjun Gehlot on Jul. 17, 2012

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