A collaboration with Brandon Gamm to create a bespoke typeface for the PRIXEL Press, a modular printmaking system inspired by vintage toy printing presses and stamps. PRIXEL Mono is monospaced both laterally and vertically, with additional geometric shapes that can be used to make elaborate “ASCII-style” illustrations.
The various shapes have been assigned to the lower case of the keyboard so they are easily accessible and don’t have to be located in a separate glyphs palette.
This makes mixing letters and shapes a more spontaneous process and it easier to use the font on packaging and websites.
To make working between Glyphs files and CAD software seamless the letters were made as “stick” versions with a stroke applied that perfectly matched the CNC milling bit size. The finished physical pieces are in a 5mm container with a 0.5mm stroke(!).
Each character is set in a perfect square with side bearings set to zero. With leading set solid and no tracking the glyphs tile perfectly both horizontally and vertically creating a seamless grid. The digital font matches the characters exactly as they are cast and printed.
In desktop typesetting letters are assigned to a key, have a fixed orientation and are typed in a horizontal row. When dealing with individual physical pieces set in the freedom of a grid the letters can be rotated. So an N can look like a Z, an I like an H*, and a 6 like a 9, and vice versa.
These characters were therefore drawn as perfect rotations of each other.
*This is almost exclusivley a monospace issue where the I has extended bars at the top and bottom to account for otherwise excessive negative space on the sides.
This is a CNC toolpath preview for engraving the letters into a mold. The CNC is extremely precise and can capture details down to 0.05mm, and could handle slightly curved apexes that were subtle even in a Glyphs file.
Despite the precision of the CNC, some details made trouble in casting.
Extra consideration was given to glyphs such as the @ symbol where small counters resulted in fragile inner “spikes” that broke off when pieces were removed from the mold. 3D extruded versions were tested to see which designs reduced the mold fragility the most.
This is the PRIXEL Mono silicone mold and matrix for casting the pieces. The resulting PRIXEL “sorts” are soft enough to hand-print like a rubber stamp but rearrangeable like traditional letterpress type. The color-coded silicone makes it easier to sort the sorts back into storage when finished.
The type and shape pieces are held and organized in a thermoformed tray.
To make a print, letter and shape pieces are pushed into the supplied grid, dabbed with ink, and pressed down onto paper.
Overtly referencing Ikko Tanaka and subconsciously channeling some vintage TDR vibes, all of the designs in this video were made by typing the digital version of PRIXEL Mono; lowercase for geometric shapes and uppercase for alphabet.
Some prints we made with the PRIXEL Press
Originally released as 61-PLR, the font is based on rounded terminal, monoline type found on vintage cameras and lenses.