around the earth circles the infinity of the damned air the damned inheritance of the earth are the same vibrations it ever was we need new air we need the air that vibrates with the sound of another kind of mind we need the beam of the future to strike the earth like the lightning and the power of a thunderbolt in order that the dying embers of the past should suddenly be extinct there is no place for the past in the realm of the future except temporarily as an exhibit of that which is taboo because the past is the past and the future is the future the eternity of the limited past was for those who were taught the limited darkness the unlimited reach of the future is another kind of forever there is an inner darkness and there is an outer darkness those who become subjects of the inner darkness dwell therein those who become subjects of the outer darkness shall dwell there out out is the way of the outer and in, the way of the inner and in of the inner in is different from the end of the outer in because the outer in is the outer on yes out is the outer and in is the inner the way out is the way to living, breathing life let’s blast the damned air and claim the right to be a part of the outer heavens and outer space that we might live and breathe and be eternally alive forever let’s blast the damnded air the imprisoning circle that bans the earth with the echoes of the dead truth of the damneded word lets the light shine upon the darkness that enchains the meaning of the knowledge that has been used as the law to destroy
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As CERN released their presentation on the Higgs Boson in 2012, Fabiola Gianotti, particle physicist and general director of CERN, chose to use Comic Sans as a typeface, simply because she liked it. The seeming contradiction to (re-)present such a groundbreaking research and discovery in such a »non-serious« typeface went viral on the internet. Regarding the slides, not only the typeface but also the strong use of various colors might hint at Gianotti’s attempt of making the strong encoded scientific data masses more accessible and attractive (FIG1). An interesting curiosity of visual communication which could lead to the general question how to »appropriately« represent any kind of information which has a strong importance for human future. Or, to put it another way, how to represent future typographically?
Other creative disciplines and crafts, such as architecture, urbanism or cinematography already gave diverse answers to it with the tools of their crafts—and are constantly looking for an answer.
In the movie »Her« regisseur Spike Jonze chose reduction and uniformation as his tool to visualize that the setting is situated within the future (FIG2). Thinking of reduction, LeCorbusiers method of photographic manipulation comes to mind. To allude to his idea of future architecture, he more than once manipulated images of buildings, such as the ones of the silos in Buenos Aires of 1923. He removed the classicistical pediments for the purpose of visual magic and architectural speculation (FIG3). The approach of speculation within architecture is, not only since archigrams »Walking Cities« (FIG4), a common and accepted tool within and outside of the discipline to encourage a discourse and request of our future environments and its representations.
Having a look on the typedesign craft, it seems since a certain amount of time—since the emergence of grotesk letters—typedesigners have not been that eager looking for an answer to this question. On the contrary, there were never as much historical revivals as nowadays. While also the technical progress influenced the visuality of typography, it did not happen that much in terms of aesthetics, the invention of the screen happened roughly 80 years ago, and already 50 years passed since the »New Alphabet« of Wim Crouwel (FIG5). Technical progress didn’t stop, but for some reasons it doesn’t enter into the general aesthetics of typefaces. If technical possibilties like variable fonts will change that, time will tell.
Inspired by the CERN presentation we were searching for more examples where gaphic design has the implied task to visualize future. Finally the »Mission Patches« (FIG6) which are created for every initiated spaceflight mission by the NASA are an insightful matter: Graphics and letterings on these patches contain the task to communicate the events and framework of each mission within a narrow space. As the NASA is researching central questions of human existence in a progressive way, it stands to reason that the visual language of the »Mission Patches« should communicate in the same visionary manner. A closer look showed that almost every patch contains uppercase sans serif typefaces. Apparently for NASA the future is visualised in sans serifs, majuscules.
Could a serif typeface also imply the futuristic touch which grotesk fonts seem to have—or are they forever bond to their origin in the classical age?
MGD Orion is the result of a playful approach to this question. It indicates the process of technical writing through the straightening of the characters curves whilst still containing a humanist nature. It is our temporality answer, for sure not our last.
Using the hashtag #wetheexplorers MGD A.A.S.R.A.D. took the opportunity to send a quote of Sun Ra’s »Planet Earth« set in MGD Orion to the asteroid »Bennu« as part of NASA’s Osiris REX Mission in 2015. Futura might have been the first typeface on the moon, MGD Orion is the first typeface on an asteroid.