The typeface [i]

Colloquy is a typeface which follows a lineage of graphic design that started with Wim Crouwel's gridded typefaces. With "A Neu Alphabet", Crouwel designed a typeface for the computer which kept it's form as it scaled to any size. A four part code determined the width, height of the letter. This has since been interpreted and reinvented numerous times, most notably for my research, by Hamish Muir and Paul McNeill with their ThreeSixty project. Their paper for Unit Edition's UDR03 explores the infinite possibilities for expansion whilst following a grid. Colloquy takes these typefaces as research and develops them into an interactive form.

An affective typography system
for a more expressive communication

The basic character set

The basic character set for Colloquy has been designed on a strict grid for legibility at small and large sizes as it is consumed on a variety of different screen sizes and devices. Each of the letterforms here are the basis upon which extension, expansion, distortion and abstraction occur to evoke a response.

Extension & expansion

The baseline and lowercase height stay the same regardless of weight. Whilst the outer two vertices act as central axis' for the expanding weight. Following these two simple rules, the rest of the lines fall into place. The result is a system that allows the letterform to be infinitely expanded and contracted.

Slant & back slant

Using a pivot where the far right central axis and the baseline intersect each character can be slanted up to a 15.5 degrees in both directions. The code follows two simple rules. Each point on the y-axis stays the same and then the further away a point is vertically from the baseline, the more it shifts in the x-direction.


The endings of each letter can change between flat, rounded, diamond, slab, slab-serif, angled in and out and slanted. The extent of their extrusion is adaptable by code.


Each of the inside corners has the potential to be "indented" and acts as yet another variable affecting the emotion conveyed through the typeface. The size and degree of the indent is flexible.

Distortion & abstraction

Because of the gridded nature of the typeface as the letterform is distorted and abstracted, it retains it's legibility. This means for choice words, some potentially quite radical effects are possible.

Emotive reference

Because there are such a large number of variables affecting the letterforms, a simpler way of referencing is the emotions and part of speech used to create the letterforms in each word. The result is a short code that could be said to reference each "weight" of the typeface.