Tim Sumner shares his love for Thai scripture with a custom typeface and photographic publication
During his time in the Kingdom of Thailand, British designer Tim Sumner developed an obsession with the banal components of everyday life displaying Thai scripture, mesmerised by its “traditional and curvaceous loops.” Capturing every sign, poster and shop window that caught his eye, he soon developed an impressive photographic archive ready-made for a 144-page publication. The result, ‘Thaipography,’ documents his time in the country while expressing his utter infatuation with the Thai alphabet’s typographic forms.
Using his love for the language as the starting point for his own creative play, Sumner devised Thaipography Display; a monospace uppercase-only typeface that he describes as “playful, experimental and well-crafted.” In the context of the book, Thaipography Display pairs naturally with Sumner’s pictorial archive; filling pages from edge-to-edge due to its imposing, fixed-width construction. Performing a far more functional typographic role is Klim Type Foundry’s much-loved sans serif Founders Grotesk. “I wanted something contemporary that would hold the publication together and compliment the display typeface,” Sumner reflects, adding that he hopes Klim Type Foundry founder Kris Sowerby “doesn’t mind that I paired it with my own typeface.”
The book adopts the colours of the Thai flag throughout, with G . F Smith’s Colorplan Scarlet used for the cover while both blue and white appear on the inside pages. Its centrepiece is undoubtedly the digitally-printed, metallic gold font specimen dedicated to Thaipography Display; which Sumner explains came “from a need to add a little bit of fun to the book as something to discover while flicking through.” Printed onto Curious Metallic Super Gold, Sumner describes gold as “such a dominant colour throughout Thai culture, from the vast array of Buddha statues to the gold shops that line many of its streets.”
Aiming to share his love for Thailand with others, Sumner tells us the main takeaway he hopes people get from the book is “to look up once in a while and appreciate what many people see as banal aspects of everyday life, whether it’s typography or something much simpler.” He concludes that “we can all do with a little bit more joy in our lives.”
90mm x 150mm