Herb Lubalin Lecture Series: What is realness? Freeing type from a fixed viewpoint

Date: 10 June 2024
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Location: In-person at The Rose Auditorium at Cooper Union 41 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003, USA
Third-party event

Can a single typeface express diverse viewpoints through its own functionality? Partners from two design studios, Polymode and XYZ Type, discuss their collaboration to bring notions of expansive personal identity into typographic form. The unexpected road to their typeface Polymode Sans began by viewing a historical type revival through a queer lens, and led them to harness variable font technology as a form of cultural code-switching. Working on an abstract theoretical foundation, they created an entirely pragmatic tool: a typeface with both the versatile utility of a sans serif and the vigor of a decorative display face. This talk will follow their process through from initial idea to chameleonic applications, posing questions about collaboration, dialogue with history, and how designers express personal identity.