A new Art Deco-inspired typeface has been designed in-house for the British watch company Paulin. Released in conjunction with the new watch model Commuter Numerical earlier this month, the Geo type features “bespoke numerals” on a classic frame.
Paulin Watches, a Glasgow-based creative hub, workshop and the brainchild of three sisters, decided upon a new typeface in order to “move away from the minimalist trends and introduce more decorative elements,” says Imogen Ayres, graphic designer at Paulin. With this in mind, the new range of watches encompass a completely fresh approach to timepiece design. “The style of the letterforms took inspiration from the geometric forms and sharp points of Art Deco typefaces — such as the Paulin logo. The Art Deco ethos also resonated with us as it was a reaction against post-war austerity and celebrated visual style and decoration.”
Their brand philosophy pays respects to their great grandfather George Henry Paulin, who was a distinguished sculptor who worked throughout both World Wars across London and Glasgow. Since launching the company in 2014, their materials and components used reflect environmentally sound and sustainable practises — and proves that Paulin is indeed a true supporter of British manufacturers.
Imogen, who’s part of the Paulin design team and a keen type enthusiast, explains how it seemed more than natural to utilise her skills and create a new range of numbers unique to their product. “When designing the numbers we had to consider the range in size that they needed to function at, and the balance they had to strike between being decorative and legible,” she tells It’s Nice That. “We decided to use this constraint as a starting point for the design by incorporating the gaps in the numbers — when viewed up close they have an aesthetic function, but when they are viewed from further away the eye automatically fills them in. In terms of determining the weight, proportions and gaps, there was a lot of trial and error (and printing out at scale) involved to make sure that they were still legible at a small scale.”
Drawn to the more “expressive” and “decorative” style, Imogen finds further influence in the work of pronounced avant-garde creatives. “Herb Lubalin is a huge inspiration, and David Rudnick’s type design is always interesting and modern,” Imogen says. “I also love type where you can really see the human input, for example Alaric Garnier’s designs based off his hand-painted lettering.”
“For now, Geo works for our brand aesthetic and we’re excited to start using it on more watches in different ways — including two models coming out in August. However, in the future we might look into creating another [type] as it introduces a whole new element to the design process and outcome.”
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.