Numbers, numbers, numbers; large, modernist font families like Helvetica rely on numbers to identify their multiple weights. Our first page 23 of 2018, from the latest Adventures in Typography magazine from design studio Spin, features the number 107, referring to the heaviest version of Helvetica, extra black.
It’s one of a series of crumpled Helvetica numerals titled ‘Helvetica Alt’ in this number-themed issue. Developing the experiments of last years first Adventures in Typography, this all-red issue sees a little more written content and playfulness around the theme. It opens with ‘Counting Off,’ which notes the use of numbers to count in rock songs from The Beatles to The Clash and Kesha.
Later in the issue ‘Tape Face’ emphasises the physical nature of the experiments carried out by designers Tony Brook, Cludia Klat and Jonathan Neilson. Thick gaffer tape is twisted and turned across the team’s faces to create letterforms. At a presentation last year, video footage of this shoot was shown to general amusement.
Across the issue, the designs are the perfect antidote to the computer-focused lives of most designers (including its makers). It’s curious to consider that the last experimental typography magazine that comes to mind was Fuse in the eighties, a project so proudly digital it featured floppy discs of its fonts, and that now, thirty years later, Adventures in Typography is so consciously analogue.