Barbican is a typeface family made for the Barbican Center, the iconic Brutalist area in London.
The main idea is to design a typeface represents the atmosphere and soul of the Barbican.
Barbican it’s letterally a city in the created on the center of London, the complex is a residential complex combined by the Art center. The centre host classical and contemporary music concert, theatre, film screenings and art exhibitions. It also house a library restaurants, and conservatory. This center was designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Boon in the Brutalist Style from the 1970.
The special thing about this particular place is that it leaves no one indifferent. The architecture are sometimes really interesting in term of the tension between the rest of the city and inside the complex. Inside the Center, the concrete shapes contrasting with the flowers on the balcony and the lake/Fontaines inside. Is also a very interesting atmosphere the contrast on the magnifique conservatory, the plant and the concrete make a beautiful contrast for the eyes and the heart. It immerses you in a special atmosphere where everything seems to be on a grand scale.
By making a typeface, I would love the represent the atmosphere of this complex. This center is a mixture of the 1970 Brutalism architecture really radical, imposant, dismeasure, ambitious and expressive.
To represent this contrasting atmosphere i would was playing with big family, to making something expressive and dismeasure with tension on the shapes.
The starting point of the project was to work with a list of words what its means on my mind, as “Brutalism/tension/huge/radical/expressive”
At the beginning I didn’t have any idea that the style of my typeface will be. I started to draw by calligraphy some letter and worlds. So I tried to represent by a bit a fun to making hard the legibility by condensed some words and extended and to create a expressive and radical shape. On the same time I trying to related by shape the tension on the Barbican, something concrete, something more natural and floral.
So at the early stage, the idea if was to make a family on the typeface, to have a big range of possibilities and pushing somes extreme shape to related for the context.
So I starting with condensed light in glyphs, the mean chalenge was to be readable, so to CALM DOWN at bit, making more legible but calm the curve. On the same time of this process I was back and force with calligraphy to find shape with different tools. Was the starting to doing the black condensed, and to develop on the same time some research for the extended version,
I did a lot a various research for the design space, To have condensed light/condensed black and all the interpolation between and also the extended light/ extended black then to have a version without contrast, and different exploration italic version of that. Then, I lost myllest on less contrast and display version one.
Was a bit a big mess and hard to working on the same time on all of the shape. So I step back to working on the the condensed black only, to interpolate some features.
So finally, Barbican is a variable typeface working with the weight and width axes. The interpolation between the large range offert big possibilities for the user. This typeface can be use for different usage and various size that a big family with variable possiblies working with 2 axes and 4 masters to interpolates between the width and the weigh. The letters came across the boldness shape that offers the extended bold trough the normal regular more readable to finish with the condensed more fluid and gentle. The huge possibilies offer his typeface will be perfect to use as a large communication. For the Barbican Centre, the typeface have also a Italic version of all the feature and Display monoliear one for the special event.
Barbican will be developed deeply and distributed on Range Left Shop
Thanks for all the instructors and my friends on the classes during this 6 amazing weeks.
The 6-week type design programme that you’ve been waiting for starts on 4 June and ends 12 July 2024.