When we stumbled upon the experiments of Nantes-based engineer and generative artist Laurent Malys on Instagram, we had to find out more. Executed largely in black and white, his feed is packed full of typographic experiments which use code to explore how processing can affect letterforms. Alphabets morph seamlessly through letters, the product of rules and parameters that Laurent defines and allows to play out, seeing what results he gets in return.
“I am fascinated by the freedom that code brings as an artistic media, as well as its tremendous versatility,” Laurent tells It’s Nice That. While working on several long-term projects that deal with “interaction between sounds and graphics as well as drawing machines in the form of interactive installation or live audiovisual performance”, much of Laurent’s experiments appear on his Instagram account. These represent the small sketches that go alongside his wider practice, and are often born from larger commissions or projects.
By working with letterforms and applying rules to how these transition, Laurent’s work sits in a fascinating space between design and abstraction. “It is mostly an iterative project, going back and forth with different effects and then mixing them together,” he explains of how he produces each visual.
In turn, each challenges the past iteration, pushing the work further and further. They are experiments into how code can be used to continually rewrite and break its own rules, while simultaneously producing visually intriguing outcomes. “I like to use or reproduce algorithms or mathematical laws that generate natural forms and then hack them or cheat within the simulated reality,” Laurent says, “I always find that these spaces where things don’t go exactly where they should are kind of poetic, in the pragmatic, effective and objective space where numerical and computer science lives.”
Laurent first started working with type when preparing two workshops with Daniel Sciboz, a graphic designer and teacher at Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD). The first took place last summer and saw the duo working with graphic designers and local craftsmen on traditional hand painted-lettering on public transportation. The second took place this January and was more specifically geared to teaching generative and interactive typography. Although he currently has no concrete plans in terms of where the project will go, “I want to work more with non-latin characters,” he concludes.
- From snowboarder to graphic designer, Kazuhiro Aihara constantly seeks artistry in design
- “Every design project can be somehow political”: Felipe Rocha on his multifaceted portfolio
- Jeffrey Cheung’s new book is a joyous celebration of QTPOC communities
- Shake, England, shake: Ian Howorth photographs a vision of Arcadia
- Uma Bista’s photographs address gender inequality in Nepalese communities
- Meet Tess Smith-Roberts, the illustration student who adds a "stupid little smiley" to every character
- “The future of design is in the creation of tools”: Meet the Space Type Generator
- How Pelle Cass creates his jarring “still time-lapse” images
- Yushi Li on photographing men she met through Tinder
- Lacoste once again swaps its iconic crocodile logo for ten endangered species
- When Hollie Fernando forgot her age, she decided to take her first self-portraits
- Introducing Double Click – our new series rounding up the best of the digital design world