Pure Untitled

  • Room: 302
  • Session Number: WB1
Wednesday, May 02, 2018: 11:15 AM - 12:00 PM


Kris Sowersby
Klim Type Foundry


This talk is about the creation of two distinct, contrasting typeface families: Pure Pākati & Untitled Sans/Serif.

Pure Pākati was designed in 2015 for a rebranding and repositioning of Tourism New Zealand. The defining kaupapa (philosophy) of their new direction is “embracing visitors as whānau (family)”. Their new typeface is intended to represent New Zealand to the world. It’s a big ask—to understand your own culture well enough to distill it into letterforms recognisable as uniquely yours by international travellers. Unlike many other nations we have no indigenous style of lettering or typography: there is nothing to grasp easily.

Untitled Sans & Untitled Serif are quotidian typefaces. Untitled Sans is a plain, neogrotesk sans validated by the ideas of Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa’s Super Normal project. When Untitled Sans was nearly finished, the same principles were applied to the creation of Untitled Serif, which is drawn from the old-style genre of types: the post-Caslon, pre-Times workhorses offered by almost every metal type foundry of the time. Untitled Sans and Untitled Serif are related neither by skeleton nor a traditional aesthetic connection, but by concept only.

Kris will discuss and explain the particular cultural challenges and stylistic nuances explored during the creation of  Pure Pākati. This design process will be contrasted with the concepts embodied in Untitled Sans & Untitled Serif — ideas and implications of “normality” in typeface design. Can non-design work as a viable design and marketing strategy?


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