Connected Script Competition Results
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.