CR Blog

Nokia's new Pure type

Graphic Design, Type / Typography

Posted by Creative Review, 29 March 2011, 15:43    Permalink    Comments (11)

To celebrate the launch of a brand new bespoke typeface created by Dalton Maag for Nokia, branding and communications agency DesignStudio has commissioned a raft of new posters by the likes of Build, Cartlidge Levene, Hello Von, North and Alex Trochut (who also designed the front cover of the new April issue of CR. His poster shown above).

The new works, which will not simply utilise the new typeface but be based on the same guiding design principles - that of classic Finnish design – were showcased at an event last week in London where an auction of the 13, A1 prints, each limited to just 20 editions, raised over £3000 for the British Dyslexia Association. Here's a look at some of the work created for the project:

HelloVon's poster is printed in one colour (silver) on Light Grey Colourplan paper. "This was somewhat of a unique challenge for me," says Von of the commission, "especially when considering my fellow exhibitors, as I do not come specifically from a typographic or traditional design-based background. In light of this I chose to single out a letter whose shape resonated with me but also symbolised the calm simplicity inherent in the original font design. To me, it was more interesting to steer away from a flat, graphic representation and treat the letter as an object or form in its own right, with its own quietly fluid internal world."

Nokia's own design department, Nokia Design, created four video loops to be shown at tonight's event. Each letter, number and glyph of the typface is shown. The above image shows a collection of stills from the movie superimposed over each other.

Non-Format's poster (above) focuses on the negative space found in and around the typeface's letterforms. "Sometimes it’s only by looking closely at the spaces between objects that their hidden connections can be truly revealed," they say. "This print takes the letters that spell out the name of Nokia’s new typeface, ‘pure’, and explores the shapes that fall between each of the four characters. A single colour has been chosen for each of the resulting shapes which have then been silkscreen printed, one on top of the other, in one of 24 possible ink layering combinations. Artists often refer to the space surrounding objects as ‘negative space’. Non–Format would like to suggest this be renamed ‘positive space’. ”

This is North's poster. "The aim was to convey the qualities of the new font with as little of our own design input as possible," they explain of their poster. "Exploring close–up details led to the idea of twenty individual posters which share fragments of a single, giant 12,000 point letterform. Each of the posters is a one–off edition, which ‘tile’ to form a complete image when displayed together.For us, the lowercase ‘ö’ characterises both the font design (the relationship to the Nokia ‘surround’ shape) and the Finnish alphabet (one of the significant extra vowel letters). We also enjoy that the letter can be interpreted as an emoticon… like Bruno Maag’s face if someone slipped Helvetica into his coffee!"

 

The exhibition (poster, for it shown above which features the Nokia Pure typeface) was designed and curated by branding and communication agency DesignStudio  – which has been working with Nokia for over two years – as an innovative way to launch the new font. All the posters can be viewed at and bought from pure.wearedesignstudio.com and all profit of sales goes to the BDA.

Of the typeface itself, Bruno Maag says it is at the heart of how Nokia is going to be presenting itself to its users in the future. "The design is all about functionality and purity of use," he explains. "We have deliberately steered away from condensed proportions that necessitate large x-heights and dictate character shapes with a square appearance. Instead we focussed on more relaxed proportions that allow a softer appearance that benefit the the user's reading experience, whether on screen or on paper. Every aspect and detail of the font's design has been considered and weighed.

"The spacing is kept generous to prevent characters merging together in the demanding environments of screen display and the fonts used on User Interfaces are fully hinted to always present the cleanest and purest pixel rendition of the characters.The first wave on language support, besides the Latin alphabet, will be Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, Hebrew, Devanagari and Thai. All of these scripts will have the guiding principles of Nokia Pure in common: functionality and purity. That the fonts are beautiful is a given. "

pure.wearedesignstudio.com

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11 Comments

the mayor is the best!
pablo
2011-03-30 16:07:55


“Nokia’s typeface goes from strong to bland” — Erik Spiekermann
http://twitter.com/espiekermann/status/51173646210834432

“full disclosure: I was responsible for the previous Nokia typeface, the non-bland one” — Erik Spiekermann

Spiekermann’s Nokia fonts designed in 2002
http://twitpic.com/4edrh7
MLA
2011-03-30 19:16:16


I imagine all these posters will all feature on the improper use of typography page in the Nokia guidelines manual. Some very interesting posters, although the cynic in me struggles to see the relevance of an exhibition for a typeface available to so few people!
Craig
2011-03-31 13:18:29


Craig the typeface will be on all handsets and promotional use so I guess it will be seen quite a lot around the world in many different languages just like the original Spiekermann one
John Instruct
2011-04-01 12:12:09


John, I guess what I meant was the font's availability for wider public use. For example if this were Dalton Maag releasing their new font to the world, then by putting on an exhibition, a chance to show off the typeface's every nuance, flexibility and quality over a range of communications, and at the end a person to buy the font, then great job done! but for me to access this font I'd have to buy a Nokia first, and even then I still wouldn't be able to enjoy working with this font or get any where near as expressive as the designers have been allowed to on this project, if anything these posters highlight a side of the font customers will hardly ever experience!
Craig.S
2011-04-01 15:47:33


John, I guess what I meant was the font's availability for wider public use. For example if this were Dalton Maag releasing their new font to the world, then by putting on an exhibition, a chance to show off the typeface's every nuance, flexibility and quality over a range of communications, and at the end a person to buy the font, then great job done! but for me to access this font I'd have to buy a Nokia first, and even then I still wouldn't be able to enjoy working with this font or get any where near as expressive as the designers have been allowed to on this project, if anything these posters highlight a side of the font customers will hardly ever experience!
Craig.S
2011-04-01 15:55:32


Craig, the exhibition wasn't put on to sell the font commercially. It's already been bought. I think the idea was to promote this new look Nokia are trying to achieve, and by involving leading designers to be creative with it, simply shows they aren't afraid to break a few rules in the name of art.

The night itself was very well put on (and yes, very on-brand), and aside from the posters there was a whole section dedicated to the construction of the font which worked very well, for those in the design industry at least. A great turn out of creatives and lots of free goodies so plenty of new brand exposure going on which I'm guessing is what Nokia paid for!!
Julian
2011-04-03 20:43:35


Julian
I know the font isn't available commercially, and that's was my point! the event was brand exposure for Nokia (of course it was, why else would they do it?) I'm just curious about this tactic, as it sounds like an extremely focused target audience, do Nokia view graphic designers/designers as the proposed seeds of change for a brand that is struggling to keep up with Apple, Android in the smart phone market? Especially an industry so heavily involved with all things Apple.

For me a new bespoke typeface, which would enhance user experience would appeal to quite a lot of people's sensibilities, not just designers (although I'd be interested in the statistic of where font decision would rank for choosing a phone?) but it seems like the event, especially with the availability of predominately graphic artwork and "A great turn out of creatives" sounds like Nokia didn't want to share all this good news with a much wider audience?

Just for the record I'm not trying to rubbish the event or the need for one, plus the posters are great, I like a lot of the ideas in them, in fact had I known about it, I'd have probably been there myself! I'm just trying to understand why Nokia would choose this sort of approach?
Craig
2011-04-06 12:28:46


But how does Nokia, trying to gain the admiration of the artisitic and design community, use this to benefit their business. The rise of apple has been predominantly at the expense of Nokia, surely they should be targeting their primary audience with somethign that portrays their product. However, you could easily counter that by saying that Apple always targeted a primarily design and creative audience, that worked extremely well for them because the design led to innovation!
I Am
2011-09-07 14:41:00


The most important thing from Nokia's perspective is not now but the future:
"Of the typeface itself, Bruno Maag says it is at the heart of how Nokia is going to be presenting itself to its users in the future."
By looking at aspects from pure design, Nokia is signifiying that it is taking the future very seriously and adapting to a changing market place not only in the design of their branding but also in the design of their products. This is just one further step in Nokia's evolution to challenge again at the top, by using innovative and progressive design.
Mel
2012-02-07 14:30:46


While I do have a strong preference for the previous typeface, these posters are pretty awesome. On a matter of fact, I would very much prefer if all advertising followed this sort of pure design aesthetic. The world would be a much prettier place to live in.
Ray Vellest
2012-06-20 09:12:12


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