Project yourself far into the future. Create a seventieth anniversary edition of Helvetica - a modern update of the font composed of destroyed letterforms. How would you associate your work to the legacy of the original face?
Pen and Paper
The very first thing I did was sketch the current Helvetica alphabet into my notebook. After all, you can't look toward the future if you don't understand what is going on now.
In order to design a Helvetica for the future, I thought about what we will be doing with the font by the time we reach the 70th anniversary in 2027. We won't be viewing type just on our phones and tablets; will be living with our media everywhere. Text will appear on walls and uneven surfaces, on countertops, on car windshields.
While the challenge encouraged creating a font from destroyed letterforms, I thought it was more important to design the font based on how it will be used. I spend a lot of time thinking about the future of technology and how the font will need to adapt to new media. Traditional flat panels won't be the only way we view text. There will be uneven surfaces, weird angles, and large scale text.
My main design considerations were about the legibility, so I imagined that the font would need a drop shadow or another 3D effect to make it stand out from the background. I went into Photoshop and started experimenting with some different effects with the font on various backgrounds.
I am always looking to solve the underlying problem that a person experiences, and my approach for this problem helped me get there.