by Ivan Chermayeff
Creating with a playful and experimental attitude can sometimes generate surprising design results. The typeface ‘Hint’ is such an outcome when Ivan Chermayeff was ‘playing’ around with an all-cap alphabet. He sees his typeface as the essence of classic sans serif capital letters.
Because of its bold, rigid and consequent design, the letters have strong graphic connotations and a limited use. The capital letters are intended for very short words, simple, easy-to-read words where clear legibility is hardly the point. ‘Hint’ is a typeface adding little visual suggestions to 26 squares, each one of which contains only the essence of each capital letter of the alphabet. It does not include any numbers, nor lower case whose construction are quite different from capital letters. It is a gathering of hints about the nature of each individual letter of the alphabet, which over recent decades have been accepted as being the essential forms of their construction and which in combination with adjacent letters and their hints allows the legibility of short words to emerge.
Each capital letter is designed essentially as a square, with only hints for counters and corners. This means that all words can be arranged on a grid, as there are no exceptions to the square for each capital letter. Similar typefaces, using the square as a basic format, have been produced in the design history and in recent the past i.e. ‘Block’ by L’esstudi in 2009 or ‘FF Extra’ by Paul Neville released by FontFont in 2009. Although there are similarities, Chermayeff says both turned up after he started. ...