Featuring designers: Bruno Maag (Dalton Maag)

I decided to feature Bruno Maag, Anthony Burrill and Jonathan Barnbrook and I am thinking of maybe swapping either Anthony Burrill or Jonathan Barnbrook with Stefan Sagmeister.

I am familiar to Bruno Maag and Jonathan Barnbrook as they have visited UCA previously to give a guest lecture. I also have some Anthony Burrill’s postcards, which were produced in favour of an exhibition of him at Kemistry Gallery. One of his work like very much is his ‘Oil and water don’t mix’ poster which I want to feature too.

Work I want to feature for Bruno Maag


When he came at UCA to give a guest lecture he mainly spoke about Ubuntu font, an open source font for Linux’s Operating System. He seemed that he was against the attitude around using Helvetica as the default font and I felt that Ubuntu, as an open source font of Ubuntu, an open source operating system, can be the new Helvetica as the latter was pushed to be used everywhere and by everyone.

So, for a visualisation I had this really really rough idea, of questioning if Ubuntu is the new Helvetica. The small question mark should make one wonder “is it really or is not?”

The Helvetica killer

Later, reading articles on the internet about Bruno Maag, I found out that he actually made a new font that could be the ‘new’ Helvetica, Activ Grotesk which is something between Univers and Akzidenz Grotesk. I found an interview on Creative Review’s blog (I really liked the way the interview was presented-image below) in which Bruno Maag talks about Helvetica, Univers, Akzidenz Grotesk and Activ Grotesk.

I also found a video on vimeo in which he talks about all these

Thinking about this, I tried to visualise it like this:

As I couldn’t download Akzidenz Grotesk on my computer, I tested the words on Dalton Maag’s website, saved the png images and then opened them in InDesign in order to make this rough visualisations.

‘Shape my language’

Going on with looking at Bruno Maag’s work, I remembered an installation he has done for the Design Museum, ‘Shape my language’. The installation constitues of hanging plastic cards, which every one of them have a glyph from fonts designed by Dalton Maag studio. The viewer in this way can ‘experience’ the font. In Bruno’s words about the installation:

There are dozens of different script systems in use in the world today, giving shape to thousands of spoken languages. A typeface designer’s task is not only to visualise the emotion with which a message is spoken, but also to ensure that the reader can absorb the message with a minimum of distraction.

(Picture from here, quote from here)

Rough visualisations about this:

I was really intrigued by Ubuntu’s form that I could only have a glyph on the cover of the publication dedicated to Dalton Maag, I believe it fits more to the Circle. I could also use thick tracing paper for the cover.

I also have font manuals which Bruno Maag gave to students on the day of his visit at UCA, which could help


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