Craig also loves “getting hands on with my work and doing everything, where possible, for real, as opposed to relying on post production”. He believes this approach is the main reason he gets commissioned. Recent projects include “throwing chalk dust around” for a headline, and in April he grew snowflakes for a music video he was working on. “I could have rendered or computer generated any of this, but it just wouldn’t have the charm,” Craig explains.

For this Ekko Recordings LP release, Autobahn used a foam board, sewing thread and more than 3,600 nails to apply the typography by hand 

Craftsmanship conveys a certain sense of nostalgia in the digital age, believes Rob Stolte, co-founder with Maarten Dullemeijer of Autobahn, a creative agency that places typographic techniques at the heart of much of its work. Its recent projects include the Alphabet in Stone typeface, and architectural typographic objects laser cut from sustainable polystyrene for an open air exhibition.  “All the tools you are used to are available on the computer, but craftsmanship is about making the effort to leave that comfort zone, to start working with real materials and no undo button,” says Rob.

An extra dimension

For signposting for Utrecht’s art event Uitfeest Leidsche Rijn, the studio created architectural typographic objects

But just as three dimensional type is flourishing, Israeli typographer Oded Ezer is moving on. Oded has been exploring 3D type for decades, and his recent work includes a three-dimensional ode to Milton Glaser’s I Love NY poster, for example. But he is now “fed up” with the ubiquity of the three-dimensional and is keen to adopt a more curatorial approach to type experimentation.

 “I am trying to think more as a curator,” he explains. “It’s the difference between making something and pointing at something.” For his Skype-Type project, for example, Oded invited Skype users to contribute a letter that was used in a poster for the Kraków Jewish Festival in Poland.

Han by Synoptic Office

In fact, such interaction and use of global communication tools will increasingly inform typography, with experimentation outside traditional, ‘western’ design influencing future trends. YuJune Park and Caspar Lam of Synoptic Office believe that East Asian lettering will have a great impact on western typography. They are currently working on creating a non-Latin typeface to be specifically used alongside typefaces like Didot and Bodoni.  

Erik Spiekermann in turn cites the new Balkan typeface from Typonine, which combines Latin and Cyrillic scripts, as an interesting example in this space. “Generally, there have been more designers coming forward from Eastern Europe and the countries not using the Latin alphabet, like Arabic or Chinese,” he says. “Outside the world of Latin script there is less available in terms of fonts, annuals, heroes, ready-made answers, which makes designers there more open and more curious.”

Design consultancy Why Not Associates combined the hand?lettering skills of in-house designer Gustavo Fernandes with the high-tech animation from Chris Cousins for its recent series of sponsorship indents for Audi. Commissioned by BBH London, the clips featured calligraphy digitally rendered