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Work / Graphic Design

Two Points designs typeface based on a basketball for ESPN magazine’s NBA issue

For ESPN The Magazine’s recent NBA Preview issue, Hamburg-based design studio Two Points were enlisted to design a display typeface. With a simple brief to “have a reminiscence of a basketball”, the letters and numbers cleverly mirror the curves and contoured lines of the ball itself.

“The magazine has a long history of bold, modular typefaces,” explains Martin Lorenz from Two Points. “This was a starting point for us, with the basketball itself. When thinking of the actual basketball, one immediately thinks of the thin black lines which are so characteristic for the ball. We therefore designed the counter spaces as thin lines.” Each letterform is blocky with slim incisions that almost – but not entirely – cut through the shape. Many characters, such as the ‘a’ and ‘w’, also feature a sharp, flicked, semi-circular top, which stop the letters becoming bubble-like and reinforce the basketball inspiration.

The typeface had to be striking and abstract while still legible, and “concrete enough to make people think of basketball,” says Martin. The designers worked closely to develop the letterforms with ESPN art director, Eric Paul, and it was so successful the two are currently reunited to develop another upcoming typeface also for the magazine. As for this one, does it have a name? “Not yet,” Martin says. “Any suggestions?”

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