Underware is a rock-hard font foundry with a whole lot of feeling for real type. Stunning retail fonts, exclusive branding, some custom type, own freaky design tools, you name it. Sweating & rocking in Den Haag, Helsinki and Amsterdam. Founded by Akiem Helmling, Sami Kortemäki and Bas Jacobs in 1999.
Zealotry wouldn’t be an inappropriate collective noun for Underware. They not only design typefaces, they live type—they educate about type, they publish about type, they talk about type, they want (and organise) others to talk about type.
There is an inherent honesty to their enthusiasm that betrays no snobbery—they simply think that type is very interesting and that everyone, given the chance, might think so too. Their work is among the most popular of independent type foundries — happy-go-lucky, high-quality, text-friendly typefaces for both display use and comprehensive typesetting. Underware’s typefaces stand out thanks to unique aesthetics, finished quality, and a considered collective presence. Underware is a refreshing and intelligent type foundry who, while taking what they do seriously, manage to not take themselves too seriously.
Lecture: «Homo Scriptus Ludens» (in English, with Russian translation).
Building a theory around ‘playing’ is like placing a monkey into a cage: no matter how many bananas you have, you have hard time making your monkey play if he is trapped. Interestingly, in 1938 the Dutch historian and cultural theorist Johan Huizinga published Homo Ludens. This book discusses the importance of the play element within our human and societal existence. Huizinga suggests that play is primary to and a necessary condition of culture. Huizinga’s ideas have been applied to politics and works of art, but can this concept also be applied to writing? Is writing only about transcribing thought, or can we also look at it purely as a sort of play; done in private, just for joy. And can we theorize that play without contaminating our personal monkey?