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Archive Foundry launches collaborative poster series AF X as a way of testing new typefaces

Archive is a London-based type foundry that was launched in the opening months of 2020 by graphic designer Samuel Powell. As well as their commercial typefaces, the foundry will work directly with agencies and brands to offer custom solutions and identity systems, having recently done so with global ad agency Wunderman Thompson.

To promote the launch of their first commercial release, AF New Grotesk, Archive invited eight renowned studios from around the world to take part in AF X. The brief was simple: create a poster about anything, as long as it uses the typeface. The participants, Christopher Doyle & Co, Chris Page, The District, Duane Dalton, Ragged Edge, Studio Blackburn, Kurppa Hosk and OPX Studio, were also asked to test the typeface for any flaws and suggest potential improvements after spending time with it.

Powell tells us that he “chose agencies and designers who have uniquely different styles and asked them to create a poster which they’d want to hang on the wall in their studio or home. The aim was to see how many different graphic styles and applications the typeface could support. This is why I wanted to keep the brief open — to see just how far the participants could push it.”

The results were incredibly varied. Cambridge-based design practice The District created an archive of the word ‘archive’, showing all of its 5,040 possible letter combinations as a play on how a type designer will test every possible outcome. Irish designer Duane Dalton used the typeface to pay tribute to Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer while Stockholm and New York-based agency Kurppa Hosk designed a typographic interpretation of a chemical element.

“By collaborating with these experienced design studios, I was instantly able to see many different ways in which the typeface works. It was great to collaborate with some of my favourite studios and I plan to bring back a second edition in the coming weeks — where designers get to test an unreleased ‘humanist sans’ typeface.” adds Powell.

Make sure to follow @archivefoundry on Instagram for news on the upcoming release of AF New Grotesk.

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