Pedro Neves, AtypI Conference


Pedro Neves, Clinical Assistant Professor of Digital Media Design, was invited as a guest speaker to ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale), a typography conference in Brisbane, Australia.

Pedro spoke on his research regarding Lego Letterforms and letterpress, investigating how one can preserve the knowledge and heritage that comes from traditional letterpress methods, while developing experiments using a more contemporary, accessible and exciting approach.

From Pedro's research:

With the ease of access to lego bricks, and by realizing that it would be fairly easy to create a workflow where people could create their designs both digitally and manually, it felt like an ideal system to work with. By designing letterforms using a modular approach (bricks), there was an opportunity to explore how individual parts could be combined and rearranged to create a range of different shapes and structures. What can we learn from designing letterforms using such gridded and restrictive system? How important is scale, resolution, and the individual brick shapes for the readability and legibility of a letterform?

Using the letterpress added an extra layer of complexity to the exercise, as one had to consider how their designs would translate into the physical printed form. The need to translate their hand-made designs into a digital template, a guide that would help typeset the bricks into the mirrored baseplate. Or the development and use small scripts of code to do color separation (in this case, brick separation) if the design was complex and was composed by a large amount of bricks. This methodology allowed participants to understand and develop their typographic sensitivity in a didactic and engaging way, while opening up space for experimentation and search for new forms.