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Stefan Kjartansson: Cumulus & Foam

Posted by Will Hudson,

Some typefaces have films made about them (Helvetica), some typefaces are ridiculed (Comic Sans) and others appear from nowhere and gather momentum like Cumulus & Foam, the typeface pictured that has gradually been gathering attention across the blogoshere. It is also the first typeface I discovered that had its own Facebook page (but I’m sure if you look hard enough you’ll find other).

Described as “the most beautifully grotesque font of our time” we had to find out more and went straight to the man who designed it, Stefan Kjartansson.

Hi Stefan, tell us about your background with type design

Between 1995 and now, I’ve published GOR (garagefonts), Reykjavik, Armchair Modern (PSY/OPS), Black Slabbath and Cumulus & Foam (YouWorkForThem)

And tell us more about you latest creation, Cumulus & Foam

I’ve always been interested in perception of beauty. Most people can actually agree on what is beautiful. My problem with accepted beauty, is that it’s been quantified. There’s nothing new to add. After my previous typeface, Black Slabbath, I wanted to stay away from feeling pressure to create another best-seller. Typeface design needs to be my safe haven, that special place that I escape to. Cumulus & Foam started with thin lines and and spiral symmetry. I wanted to see how obese and deformed I could mold these shapes and explore how stylistically eclectic I could make that alphabetical ecosystem. The modus operandi was ugly beauty, disciplined chaos, brutalism meets baroque.

How well does it work as a typeface?

It doesn’t.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently thinking about what typeface the world absolutely doesn’t need. I intend to make it.

Wh-300

Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.