There were two other German geometric sans-serif designs which were released at a similar time as Futura. Erbar was created by Jakob Erbar in 1926, and Kabel in 1927 by Rudolf Koch. Erbar, Futura and Kabel shared a similar nature. These typefaces are a milestone in type design history as they helped to define a style that can be found in most type libraries today.
One of the main sources of inspiration for the design of Kinetic was the American artist Alexander Calder. He started working with moving sculptures in Paris at the beginning of the 1930’s. A visit to Piet Mondrian’s studio in Paris had a deep impact on him. It helped him to fuse his sculptural vocabulary with the visual language of geometric abstraction. It was Marcel Duchamp who came up with the term ‘mobile’ to name his kinetic sculptures. His wire and sheet iron designs had a playful approach in their construction. Calder was not only concerned with the aesthetics of the mobile but also with the spatial quality and movement of it. Calder’s mobiles set sculpture into motion and established a new relationship between the object and viewer. He brought abstraction to life with an unpredicted rhythm.
The light, soft and playful appearance of Calder’s sculptures was something we wanted to translate into type forms. Kinetic is a geometric sans that avoids strict design systems. Although geometry is clearly present in the structure of the characters, optical corrections have been included and the design rules give room to the designers’ interpretation in each particular case. Geometry is also visible in the work of Calder, but not in a mathematical manner. For his mobiles, he used asymmetric elementary forms with blunt corners.
Kinetic is a crafted typeface that comes in 3 weights with italics. Every single character was built by the designers. There was no technical automatisation involved in the construction of the letterforms. The typeface was created with the reader in mind. The design decisions were made in order to create a functional typeface that feels comfortable to read.
The design is intended for a wide range of applications which include advertising, editorial design, and any corporate or art projects. Kinetic is a typeface appealing for contemporary design that looks good on print and screen.
It has been 200 years since the release of Caslon Egyptian, the first commercially manufactured sans-serif printing type. 100 years have passed since Edward Johnson designed the typeface for the London Underground. 2016 was a year to celebrate and we wanted to do it by designing Kinetic.