Studio Marlon Ilg’s typeface references a furniture company’s old logo and stacking beds

This “multi-layered” typeface is one for all interior design lovers.

13 March 2023


Inspiration can strike at the most unsuspecting moments. For Studio Marlon Ilg’s most recent typeface, the seed for its fun new geometric design came after its founder and head designer Marlon Ilg stumbled across an old product catalogue of Müller Möbelwerkstätte, a German furniture manufacturer. Well respected in northern Germany, the 140-year-old company is known for its high quality designs and collaborations with revered designers, most notably industrial designer Rolf Heide – a union which in 1966 resulted in Heide’s iconic colourful stacking bed. But what really attracted Marlon to the catalogue was the company’s previous logo featured throughout, and its “interesting, geometric, lowercase and linear M”.

Upon viewing the logo, Marlon realised that the letter contained all of the geometric shapes on which a font can be built. Combining the shapes of the logo with the history of the company’s colourful stacking bed, Marlon set himself on creating what he describes as a “multi-layer” font.


Studio Marlon Ilg: Multi-layer font (© Studio Marlon Ilg, 2023)

According to Marlon, a multi-layer font is a typeface that is “composed of two complementary layers”. In practice, this means that “each letter is made up with simple shapes and of two complementary layers, which can be coloured separately”. In the displays of the font, Marlon has shown how dynamic and striking it can be, with a number of satisfying (sometimes clashing and sometimes complementary) colour combinations – royal blue and clean white, pale pink and olive green, bright yellow and charcoal black.

Despite the typeface’s dynamic and intriguingly complex finish, Marlon tells It’s Nice That that it was, in reality, fairly simple to create. Being based on simple shapes and a rigid grid, the letters easily developed as a uniform set, allowing for both uppercase and lowercase letters to be created with it. Again, paying homage to the stacking bed of Wolf Heide with its combination of angular edges and rounded points, the typeface appears to have the ability to itself stack. And when used to create words, it appears both linguistic and artistic.

Looking back at the project, as a whole, Marlon says it was “very exciting and playful” to design. This, Marlon hopes, will therefore lend the typefaces – and its “cheerful face” to a multitude of projects, especially those that “seek positive expression and strong typographic recognition”. Playful, dynamic and rooted in a rich design history, this multi-layer typeface has multiple legs to stand on. And that’s bed legs, of course.


Müller Möbelwerkstätten: Product catalogue (© Müller Möbelwerkstätten, 2005)

GalleryStudio Marlon Ilg: Multi-layer font (© Studio Marlon Ilg, 2023)

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Studio Marlon Ilg: Multi-layer font (© Studio Marlon Ilg, 2023)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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