Brick by Brick, the FontStruct Blog

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The Numbers Competition Results

Competition Results, Competitions | | May 21st, 2024

fontstruct-numbers-competition-results

From top to bottom: tm Strokes by thalamic, Ploeg by four, Fat LCD Font by Frodo7*

Dear FontStructors,

I thought we had you this time. I thought we’d chosen a competition theme so fiendishly narrow, so intangible and niche, that you would surely struggle to deliver. How wrong, I was, how very wrong! With a record 82 entries and an extraordinary display of collective creativity, you blew the judges away.

As is always the case, there will be a large number of excellent typefaces – designs which might easily have won on another day – which will not be mentioned at all in this post. There are simply too many. Do not doubt that all of your efforts were admired. Congratulations to all participants!

Before we review a sample of the entries and finally reveal the winners, a special thanks to our judges: type designer, communicator and digital punchcutter Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer from our sponsors Glyphs App, and type designer and educator Ben Mitchell from the Fontpad. Thank you Rainer and Ben!

Now, let’s look at some of the entries.

Conceptual Approaches

Many designers came up with ingenious conceptual approaches to the “numbers” theme. D3C0DR by Gr4ftY (groan) for example is a simple but attractive pixel serif which replaces certain alphabetical letters with numbers and symbols. It’s a strong concept, rigorously pursued but not overdone:

D3C0DR

D3C0DR by Gr4ftY (groan)

It took me a while to work out what was going on with Nonografia 6×6 by V. Sarela (Yautja) I didn’t know what nonograms are, but then I installed the font and started trying to fill out the grid in my image editor (sorry I wasn’t very precise with my yellow globs). Nonografia is an extremely clever take on the interface between FontStructing and puzzling, and great fun, almost like climbing inside the mind of a FontStructor at work. As thalamic put it, “This might be the best interpretation of number competition. It only contains numbers yet it contains the letters. Brilliant.”

nonografia

Nonografia 6×6 by V. Sarela (Yautja)

A number of entries focused on the standard numerical encoding of digital letters. As-kee r0 by riccard0 is an elegant monospaced font which includes, miraculously, an attractive microcosmic metafont showing the ascii codes for upper and lower case as decimals and binaries. Comfortably Numbers by Peter Stanford (textgod) has a similar flavour and a more reduced and extreme concept. All glyphs, aside from the digits, are represented by their decimal codes. Beautiful work.

encodings

As-kee r0 by riccard0 (top) Comfortably Numbers by Peter Stanford AKA textgod (last three lines)

Only a few designers added numbers for non-latin scripts. Numerio by Bryndan W. Meyerholt (BWM) includes tamil, devanagari, some chinese numerals and many more.
11-Unbenummert by Aeolien meanwhile produced an interesting reverse take on the “letters as numbers” approach seen above, instead replacing her number glyphs with their full german names.

numbersconcepts2

Numerio by Bryndan W. Meyerholt AKA BWM (first line) 11-Unbenummert by Aeolien (bottom)

Experimental Families

Two notable experimental families emerged from the competition: choruchor by jirinvk, and Stu by faux_icing. The dogged minimalist beauty of jiri’s variations will be familiar to many from his previous work. Beneath the superficial repetition lie complex, thoughtful variations.

Stu is an intriguing concept, documented in detail in this blog post which I thoroughly recommend reading. The designer states “[I wanted] to create a font family consisting of 3 styles: ‘Hi’ (all glyphs having only ascenders), ‘Mid’ (all glyphs to be strictly within x-height), and ‘Lo’ (all glyphs having only descenders)”. Great work.

Experimental Families

choruchorAC18 by jirinvk, and Mx Stu Lo by faux_icing

Classical Finesse

There were a huge number of entries in the competition which were simply beautiful, balanced, inventive examples of FontStructive craft.
Below you can enjoy some sumptious digits from Thiny by Peter (Petruuccio), 2Minutes by frongile and fs dotout by moontr3. All three have larger character sets extending beyond these digits.

With 80+ designs to look at, the judges cannot download, install and try out every font in a design, but in truth it’s only when you do this that a font comes alive and you hope to understand it’s true qualities and potential. So, since I do need to install quite a few of the entries in order to make the samples for this post, I’m lucky. There’s always a rich hidden seam to discover in Beate’s fonts – alternate forms, original solutions to the conflict between the grid and the bricks and the challenges of a particular letterform – endless geometrical wit. Beate has 103 staff picks and it’s no wonder. Any one of her three entries (db Number Two, db Number Three or db Monuck) might have won on a different day:

From top to bottom: db Number Two by beate, db Number Three by beate, db Monuck by beate

fs numberceptionist by moontr3 consists only of digits, but they are extremely beautiful ones, with their high contrast curves and ball terminals. Very ingenious technique!

Deco Geometries

Ok, I’m not sure the first of these next two is really deco, but I’m struggling to categorize given the diversity of the entries, so please forgive me! numerical ext by AidenFont is a cute, chunky pixel design, with three grooves drawn up through the centre of each glyph. Beneath that you will find the wonderful hiero’s glyph by caterpillar’s.kimono, one of FontStruct’s deco cracks.

Future Display

More tenuous categorization ahead … Three extravagant, display fonts with some kind of sci-fi, retro-futuristic reference. zombriya eYe/FS by elmoyenique probably doesn’t really fit here, but it had to be included somewhere. As beate put it in the comments, “This font has the ability to bring a big smile to anyone’s face”.

Beneath zombriya we find STF_MARTIAN AMBASSADOR by Sed4tives, one of his three, exceptionally strong entries to the competition. I’m not entirely sure what kind of worlds are being conjured up by this typeface, but I think I’d like to visit them, or at least see the movie.

Last of the three is winder by Dmitriy Sychiov (Sychoff) A wide, futuristic, technoid typeface with some innovative dynamic, digit designs.

Color Entries

The intricate design of Solace in Geometry is the result of Frodo7’s lifelong fascination with aperiodic tiling patterns. The genesis of the design is described in detail here (multiple comments). This font reimagines the grid entirely. A brilliant tour de force.

The Winners

Overall winner, your FontStructor’s favourite, and also a first-time winner is tortoiseshell for skhematique. Skhematique is a unique Nouveau-tinged serif with a blueprint underlay and annotations in a characterful microcosmic font. I really can’t imagine how this was done with FontStruct. Each of the 99 glyphs is a distinct work of art, but the whole is nevertheless coherent. Congratulations tortoiseshell. You have a won a free license for Glyphs 3 worth 299€!

Skhematique

skhematique by tortoiseshell

Our second winner chosen by the judges is Outnumbered by four. Our jury said:

… we were impressed by the well-balanced use of the decorative element without compromising on the shape structures. A nicely executed blend of two concepts that must have been difficult to achieve …

outnumbered

Outnumbered by four

Finally, our third winner is zrebmun eYe/FS by elmoyenique. Our jury said:

the designer managed to juxtapose the stroboscopic psychedelia with a reduced geometric aesthetic. Clever diagonal interventions in a vertical stroke order replace the usual foreground-background structure of typographic shapes.

zrebmun-eye-fs

zrebmun eYe/FS by elmoyenique

Thank you!

Thanks again to everyone who took part. Thanks to whoever it was who categorized all the entries!

Thanks to our generous sponsors Glyphs App, the world’s leading desktop font editor for OSX. Glyphs continues to quietly and kindly support FontStruct in 2024.

Last but not least, thanks to our guest judges Rainer and Ben, for gifting us their time and expertise.

Have an idea for our next competition theme? Please add it in the comments.

Happy FontStructing!

*I added the image at the top of this post as an afterthought, having forgotten that it might be a good idea to start with an image. I wondered whether I could still find three top-notch designs among those not already mentioned in this blog post. It wasn’t hard at all – there was so much quality among the entries. The three designs with links:  tm Strokes by thalamic, Ploeg by four and Fat LCD Font by Frodo7.


11 Comments

  1. Faux Icing

    Congrats to all the winners! It’s always amazing to see people pushing the limits of what FS can do (and furthermore within theme!) to make beautiful conceptual types.

    Faux Icing — May 21, 2024 #

  2. Beate Limbach

    Applause, applause, applause to all the winners and everyone who once again put all their inspiration in the right grid. Great competition – once again : ) 
    Cheers,

    Beate

    Beate Limbach — May 21, 2024 #

  3. lucapri

    GG tortoisshell

    – lucapri — May 21, 2024 #

  4. elmoyenique

    It has been a real pleasure to participate in this NumbersComp. Congratulations to the winners, the nominees and all the participants without exception for their enormous creativity! And my special thanks and admiration for the tremendous work done by the excelent judges and Rob Meek who made it possible!

    – elmoyenique — May 21, 2024 #

  5. NFR (winty5)

    great work everyone! some beautiful numbers here all around.

    NFR (winty5) — May 21, 2024 #

  6. four

    Congratulations to tortoiseshell and elmoyenique and to all who entered this competition. A big thanks to Rob, Rainer and Ben!

    – four — May 22, 2024 #

  7. jirinvk

    Congratulations to tortoiseshell, four, elmo!
    Thanks, Rob, for making this happen and for a nice summary/recap highlighting the pleasant diversity of approaches.

    – jirinvk — May 22, 2024 #

  8. Yautja

    Congratulations to the winners, and thanks for another exciting competition!

    – Yautja — May 22, 2024 #

  9. Faux Icing

    Congrats to all who’ve won! It’s always amazing to see people pushing the limits of what they can do in FS.

    Faux Icing — May 26, 2024 #

  10. Gr4fty

    There were so many cool entries, congradulations to the winners!

    Next compitition Ideas:

    VariableComp: maybe each contestant could have 1 typeface, but with mutiple masters? 

    PixelComp: Idk if this has happened yet but it would be fun.

    DingbatComp: what it sounds like.

    Gr4fty — May 28, 2024 #

  11. Gr4fty

    There were so many cool entries, congradulations to the winners!

    Next compitition Ideas:

    VariableComp: maybe each contestant could have 1 typeface, but with mutiple masters? 

    PixelComp: Idk if this has happened yet but it would be fun.

    DingbatComp: Exactly what it sounds like.

    Gr4fty — May 28, 2024 #