Nokia’s new Pure type

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…

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 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. “

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Thanks for reading the CR Blog, but if you’re not reading us in print too, you’re missing out on a richer, deeper view of your world. Our April issue features our Top 20 logos of all time. You can buy it today by calling +44(0)207 292 3703. Better yet, subscribe to CR, save yourself almost a third and get Monograph for free plus a host of special deals from the CR Shop. Go on, treat yourself.

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