Solo(s) Project House
972 Broad St.
Newark, NJ 07102
Like most designers, we have intuitively collected a small, core group of visual impressions, ideas and inspiration. Preserved both physically and in our memory, this collection of eclectic objects and observations have resonated with us well after our initial interactions with them. At first, much of this collection fascinated us for reasons we could not explain.
Upon further reflection, we began to identify these objects and their importance. The roundness and exactness of the 1960s Volkswagen Beetle we grew up with, the proportions and beautiful simplicity of the Japanese national flag, the graceful curves found behind a woman’s knee, the faultless design of the modest paper clip or the curvilinear elegance found in the ball terminals of Bodoni’s namesake typeface. These things have made an indelible impression upon us.
How these objects and observations have made there way into the design of this typeface can be difficult to describe. While some relationships might be obvious, others may seem oblique and often abstract. Furthermore, transforming these inspirations into a typeface required that we remove them from their original context. The use of a modular grid allowed us to impose a system that organized these eclectic references and established Ludd’s visual vocabulary. Ludd’s simplicity is expressed in both its overall design and its carefully considered details of joints and junctures, serifs and terminals. Together these perspectives and structures serve as important parameters for Ludd’s overall design and appearance.
At times during the design process, we found inspiration in traditional typographic norms (see the lowercase a, b, d, & the uppercase G, L, O) while also being open to new discoveries and eclectic combinations (see the lowercase e, f, g, m, v, w & the uppercase C, Q and T). Because of the module grid, Ludd has a substantial geometric look and feel that is expressed through the unique interpretations of the typographic forms (see the lowercase f, g, k, o and the uppercase B, G, M, N, O). Several letterforms push against convention while celebrating a quirky incompleteness and progressive typographic appearance (see the lowercase c, e, f, g, t and the uppercase C).
Several typefaces and systems have also influenced the design and construction of Ludd. The Univers system (not Helvetica), Futura, DIN 1451 Mittelschrift, Bodoni and Filosofia and many others have all, in different degrees, had their influences. We’ve sought their inventiveness, exactness and typographic brilliance as the benchmarks that we aspire to, but never pretend to achieve.
Ludd’s namesake, Ned Ludd, was the symbolic leader of the Luddites, an early 19th century social group and movement that protested against the ill effects of technology and the changes made by the Industrial Revolution. The name also signifies our attempts to balance and navigate the current technological maze that, at times, seem to overshadow typographic design and the design process. Developed through multiple hand-drawn investigations, the Ludd type family is an attempt to express and visualize our concern for design, craft and typographic expression.
Ludd’s name might give an impression of a destructive tirade or a romantic pining. In truth, it reflects a simple attempt to balance the tension we feel between digital technology and our own design process. Our process is grounded in a return to the fundamentals of design and aesthetics that help us to connect with our creative community and beyond. We’d like to think that this tension that pulls against the weight of technology, back towards humanity, is representative of a sentiment in our zeitgeist. A tug of war, perhaps, repeated in every historical era growing into its new technology.