I first discovered the work of kontrapunkt studios in 2006. I was looking for a display typeface we could use on collateral, tee-shirts and signage for a 2007 global design charette. I had used Univers for the text and we needed to pair it with something with a bit more punch and personality for display.
My boss Dave Walker sent me a link to Kontrapunkt a typeface made available as a 2 weight font and I was intrigued by its peculiar notches and precise matter of fact forms. The typeface served our purposes perfectly and introduced me to the work of this Scandinavian agency who specialises in articulating identies, and design solutions for clients using refined and distinctive typographic treatments.
Taking their appreciation for type to the next level, the agency recently established a new Typography Lab serviced by type specialists Torsten Lindsø Andersen, Rasmus Michaëlis, Bo Linnemann and Rasmus Lund Mathisen.
Lindsø Andersen and Michaëlis founded ÅBC, an internationally acclaimedDanish typographic studio that joined Kontrapunkt earlier this month.
This merger and the collaborative Lab, continues Kontrapunkt's strong focus on developing innovative typography solutions,
“At Kontrapunkt we have always considered typography an essential part of creating unique brands, so the fact that we are now dedicating a lab to the very skills we are perhaps most famous for feels completely natural. It gives us room to experiment while we refine and expand our typographical development process, which in turn gives us a world-class set-up,” says Executive Design Director & Founding Partner Bo Linnemann.
Having just won a prestigious award in Japan for the customised fonts developed in collaboration with ÅBC for Japanese car brands Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun, Kontrapunkt is experiencing an increased demand for global typographies that link languages and alphabets. With the new lab and greater focus on designing innovative typographical solutions as part of the complete brand experience, Kontrapunkt is now able to provide typography to a broader client base.
“ÅBC joining Kontrapunkt and us starting a new lab is driven by heart as much as by finances. Of course we believe that it is going to strengthen our business, but it also supports our strategy for Kontrapunkt to be a place that gives creativity the best possible conditions to thrive and grow. By going new ways, but certainly also by remembering our core,” tells Rikke Nalepa Olesen, Kontrapunkt’s Executive Director.
The new laboratory is born out of the mutual ambition to break with the idea that a customised font is a luxury good for the selected few. One project already in the pipeline examines how typography can be used to communicate globally across languages and cultures.
“Letters may be what we use the most but there is so little attention as to what typography, and increasingly icons and emojis, are able to do in a wider cultural context, and how they can create cohesion despite of language barriers. By joining forces with Kontrapunkt, we can expand the extent of clients as well as the fonts we develop, and hopefully feed the dialogue surrounding typography and its meaning in our everyday lives,” Torsten Lindsø Andersen comments.
Rasmus Michaëlis adds, “We want to learn what happens when font design and typography meet people’s everyday lives. Writing is always in a context - what is it able to do in the urban space, what happens when a brand typography is used in an organisation, and what new territories in fonts can we experiment with? For most people this is uncharted territory and we look forward to exploring it.”
Kontrapunkt is a leading Scandinavian brand and design agency. For 30 years, they have worked with clients such as Carlsberg, Noma, DNP, Denso, Novo Nordisk, Glyptoteket, KPMG, Arken, Coca Cola, Experimentarium, Den Blå Planet, DSB and Asics Tiger. Today, Kontrapunkt has 60 people working with design, strategy and technology in their offices in Copenhagen and Tokyo.
ÅBC is a design studio founded by Rasmus Michaëlis and Torsten Lindsø Andersen. Both are educated from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts and have since specialised in design and production of brand fonts. In addition to a string of partnerships with Kontrapunkt, ÅBC has developed fonts for clients like DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation), Strøm Festival, Atos Medical, Refugee Text, Chemo To Go, Please, Playtype, Designit, Babyplan and Enhedslisten.