The merging of NFT technology and typography is still a relatively untapped field of creativity. And yet, if there was ever going to be a high-profile release within this area, it would only make sense that the typefaces involved would be fittingly iconic. Enter Helvetica The NFT – a collaboration between legendary type foundry Monotype and emerging Web 3.0 creative community KnownUnknown that has seen two dozen artists from around the world come together to create a range of NFTs using “the world’s most well-known typeface”.
The collection, which was pre-released in June at iR Gallery Soho in New York, explores the intersection of art, culture and technology, and investigates how the three can work together in a typographic context. “This collaboration has produced a never-before-seen collection of art that celebrates the role of Helvetica in a new marketplace,” says Alice Palmer, SVP of Marketing at Monotype. “Holders of the tokens will have access to both the creators they admire and a growing community of design enthusiasts who are part of the KnownUnknown ecosystem.”
Helvetica The NFT boasts a number of celebrated creators, including Margaret Calvert, who is best known for her seminal work on road signage in the UK – and has contributed her first-ever NFT to the project – and prolific designer Paula Scher, who is a partner at Pentagram and served as its first female principal in 1991. Among the older and more established creatives are up-and-comers such as Vicky Vuong, an electron microscopist turned sneaker artist who created an artwork where “the anatomy of a sneaker is labelled with warped Helvetica font”.
Other names include Kunel Gaur, Jasmina Zornic, Julian Montague, Wayne Lawrence and Kiel Mutschelknaus. Each of these creators has taken the classic and much-loved typeface and shown the many ways in which type in general can be used for artistic purposes in a Web 3.0 and Metaverse context. According to Palmer, Helvetica The NFT forms part of a wider movement in which designers are “exploring type design for virtual reality environments”. She adds: “They’re weighing accessible type design and letter shapes when viewed at different angles and levels of automation—all without compromising authentic brand experiences.”
Helvetica the NFT: Ben Jones (Copyright © Ben Jones, 2022)
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.