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Brick by brick: News about FontStruct


Connected Script Competition Results

Competitions | | June 28th, 2013

Last month, when we challenged you to emulate handwritten scripts using only the grid and bricks of FontStruct, it could be argued that we contradicted the very nature of modular type. But we’ve learned through experience — and four other competitions — that this tool is limited only by the imagination of our FontStructors. As we expected, many of you rose to this difficult challenge. It was tricky for the judges, Rob Meek and myself, to pick winners from the 56 entries, many of which were quite innovative, original, and appealing. But after comparing notes (and a bit of cheerleading here and there) we agreed on three clear champions in the Connected Script Competition.

And the winners are…

Each of our three selections answered the “Connected Script” call in their own unique way, and they demonstrated skill and creativity above and beyond the other entries. Without further ado, let’s look at each of these FontStructed scripts in more detail.

Stiff Script by Upixel

Michel Troy (Upixel) strikes a self-deprecating note when he describes his entry as a “very rough script” with glyphs that are “very unsightly”. But he acknowledges that, when its letters are combined to form words, Stiff Script has an undeniable charm. The judges recognized that on very first glance. Its pieces are linked with a very simple 45-degree stroke, yet Stiff Script manages a very even, handwritten flow despite the inherent rigidity of its forms. The sprightly, angular effect is reminiscent of the lively lettering found in mid-century advertising, logos, and signage. Still, the overall feeling of this design isn’t necessarily retro, as observed by four, a fellow Scriptcomp champion. The character set is essentially lowercase only, which freed up the uppercase slots for alternate “initial” forms that can be used to start words in a cleaner, more natural way.

Jalgas by architaraz

Over his last couple of years on FontStruct, the Kazakhstan-born, Shanghai-based Zhalgas Kassymkulov (architaraz) has gained a reputation for creating inventive lettershapes and building fonts with an organic flow. So it’s no surprise that he excelled in the Script Competition. From a purely typographic perspective, Jalgas is the most imaginative design in the competition, with many glyphs that, while still legible, are entirely new. Despite a slightly irregular rhythm, words cascade gracefully across the screen. Zhalgas even noted that his design can survive (maybe even thrive?) with a faux italic skew. There is a lot to praise about Jalgas — more than we have space to detail here — so I’ll just finish off with the astute comments of will.i.ૐ:

Wickedly stylish. I love your use of propeller bricks in the connections and the implied dimensionality of the bridged loops. Script and stencil. Nice!

lupo by four

Among the handful of finalists under consideration by the judges, lupo generated the most discussion and controversy. If this font were to stand on its own, outside the context of the competition, no typographer would classify it as a “script” typeface. Still, we cannot deny the sheer ingenuity displayed by Paul Bokslag (four) in his response to the core requirement of the challenge: connections. Each glyph is wider than its sidebearings and features a gap, like an open circuit, that is closed only when another letter follows and overlaps its neighbor. Every word creates a continuous line that runs over the top and bottom of letters, looping at their connections. But lupo isn’t just a gimmick. The shapes of the letters themselves are interesting — bulbous and bold, the kind of friendly, engaging design that could be put to good use on product packaging or a children’s book.

In my brief for the Connected Script Competition I was painfully vague about the definition of script. So, as if in open defiance of that term, Bokslag focused on a connection scheme so brilliant it simply must be rewarded. Well done, sir.

lupo was incidentally also the “People’s choice” with the most number of favorites when the deadline passed.

Honorable mentions

There were so many strong and prizeworthy entries, we can’t mention them all, but FontStructions which were discussed in the latter stages of judging included:

db Lineo by beate – interesting, useful and attractive. A winner on another day.

Artificial Script by 1saac – part of an impressive, coherent and growing family.

The Ugly Script by cablecomputer – finely-crafted crudity. Not ugly at all.

Neonic by CMunk – “The letters connect to each other, even though they are unconnected to themselves”. Profoundly metaphysical FontStructing!

Djangogh Unpenned by will.i.ૐ – the FontStructing pioneer exhibits his wonderful, unique style and astonishing attention to detail.

Emblazoned by aphoria – A top-drawer “connected chrome” script. I can’t wait to see this one cast in metal.

and zelemin eYe/FS by elmoyenique – entering four competitions at once. It’s an outline, a stencil, an italic, and a script font. And it works!

Thanks!

Winners will be contacted by email to be faced with the choice of either a signed and numbered FontStruct poster, or a signed copy of the book The Geometry of Type. Thanks to all entrants and bantering bystanders for another great competition. FontStruct is in many ways a collaborative community and we were especially heartened by the way so many participants commented on the entries of others, lending technical support, design feedback, and sincere well wishes.


19 Comments

  1. beate

    All my congratulations!!! to the winners of this contest! Your fontstructs are truly awesome. Wow : )

    Comment by beate — June 28, 2013 #


  2. elmoyenique

    @Upixel: Félicitations du coeur, mon cher ami! C’est une trés belle police, tu le sais! / Congratulations from the heart, my dear friend! This is a veeery rich and fresh and nice and funny and… really a great font, you know, master!
    @architaraz: Congrats to you, compañero! I vote 100/100 all the judges’ opinions… and I must go beyond: You’re great!
    @four: Daor chara, comhghairdeas! / Dear pal, congratulations! “Lupo” is genial! And you too!
    @ To all of you, FSs: Congratulations for your great effort and for compete so kindly, comrades! I love you all!

    Comment by elmoyenique — June 28, 2013 #


  3. ETHproductions

    Great job, everyone! I think the judges chose very well. :)

    Comment by ETHproductions — June 28, 2013 #


  4. winty5

    Congrats everyone, I think judges chose really well. All three of these awesome entries were my favorites, and I knew mine didn’t even come close. My best congradulations to ALL OF YOU!

    Comment by winty5 — June 28, 2013 #


  5. winty5

    Oh, and I almost forgot, congrats beate, 1saac, cablecomputer, CMunk, will.i.om, aphoria, and elmo!

    This was such a fun competion, even if I didn’t win!

    Comment by winty5 — June 28, 2013 #


  6. CMunk

    Congratulations winners! I completely agree with the judges. And it is no shame to lose to such great works.

    Thank you for the honorable mention. The second I’ve had in a competition. With a little luck, I might win next time :)

    Comment by CMunk — June 28, 2013 #


  7. architaraz

    I express my sincerest gratitude to organizers, sponsors, participants and commentators. This was yet another terrific experience.
    Such a great honor! I’m speechless… Thank you.

    Comment by architaraz — June 28, 2013 #


  8. aphoria

    Congratulations to all the winners!

    You all created very deserving fonts.

    And thank you Fontstuct for the honorable mention.

    Comment by aphoria — June 28, 2013 #


  9. elmoyenique

    …And many thanks too to the FS staff for this great honorable mention to my font, of course! (I beg your pardon for my bad manners). Thanks all again!

    Comment by elmoyenique — June 28, 2013 #


  10. Yautja

    Congrats, nice competition!

    Comment by Yautja — June 28, 2013 #


  11. Upixel

    I am very grateful. Thank you.
    Congratulations to all participants, many great script font came out from this script comp.
    What I like about these competitions is that we explore areas that we dare not without reason like this and pushes our “too comfy” limits

    The most significant was that I had fun during the process of creation.
    Thank to Fonstruct team. FS is a “Magnifique” online tool who create a great community.

    cheers!

    Comment by Upixel — June 28, 2013 #


  12. will.i.ૐ

    I admire especially the diversity on display by the three prize-winning entries. Each manages to highlight a considerable strength of the fontstructor by first making good friends with one of its many limitations. What an instructive creative paradox!

    Great job for all your hard works, fs community. Many thanks to the organizers and judges for their valuable time, essential expertise, and priceless feedback. Stephen, those classification links and samples are all beautiful.

    Comment by will.i.ૐ — June 28, 2013 #


  13. will.i.ૐ

    p.s. While I truly love the fontstruct poster, I secretly wish all the winners to opt for Stephen’s book so that it continues to bolster their knowledge and skills as typographers. Oops, secrets out! ;)

    Comment by will.i.ૐ — June 28, 2013 #


  14. four

    All along I was very aware that in my explorations of the connection between glyphs, I had overstepped the boundaries of font classification. I would have totally understood if lupo wasn’t deemed a valid competition entry for that reason. So I was over the moon when I found out that the judges had decided to include it in the winning selection. Rob Meek and Stephen Coles, I can’t thank you enough, for your words and for organising another very inspiring challenge. I think it pushed the creativity in all of us. Congratulations to the other winners Upixel and architaraz for your fantastic entries Stiff Script and Jalgas and to all other participants for bringing together such a wonderful collection of connected script fonts. Thank you also to the fontstruct community, to all who voted for, commented on and/or added lupo as a favourite and especially to will.i.ૐ, Cmunk and architaraz for making suggestions to improve it.

    Comment by four — June 29, 2013 #


  15. p2pnut

    My hearty congratulations to upixel, four and architaraz … three excellent designs from three worthy winners

    Congratulations as well to those who received honorable mentions.

    Well done to everyone who took part.

    Comment by p2pnut — June 29, 2013 #


  16. Umbreon126

    Congratulations to all the winners :D The judges must have had a hard time, but they chose well :)

    Comment by Umbreon126 — June 29, 2013 #


  17. funk_king

    Congratulations to all the winners and the staff for another well-run competition. It’s always great to see the work generated from these events and they inspiration they will provide for others. Best wishes and keep on ‘structin!

    Comment by funk_king — June 30, 2013 #


  18. cablecomputer

    Wow, congratulations for all the winners, upixel, four, architaraz, they really deserve it for their wonderful works. And thanks meek, for the honorable mention :)

    And thanks for this great competition!

    Comment by cablecomputer — June 30, 2013 #


  19. Frodo7

    Upixel, Architaraz, Four, and all other participants: congratulation to you all. It was a tough challenge you have risen to. Well done. I wish I had enough spare time to compete with you. However, it was a great delight to follow the competition, and watch your brilliant works taking shape.

    Comment by Frodo7 — July 3, 2013 #