Typography is stylistically influenced by the tools used to make it. I am designing robotic typography in new mechanical ways in order to see how new styles of dynamic signage can emerge from mechanical restriction, and how these styles acclimate into culture. Currently, pixel-based screens with echoes of sans serif largely dominate the signage landscape. Is that a choice we made, or is it the circumstance of mindless re-use?

I make these typeface machines because I am deliberately trying to open up a Pandora's box. I realize when I finish a prototype that the letterforms are illegible to other people. It is still the beginning of something that could be improved further in the future. By solving the initial problem of getting the machine to work, I am creating a new group of problems. I am driven by the possibility that this experimentation may eventually yield something useable, and in the meantime, I enjoy the smaller puzzle of adjusting a mechanical system and trying to get it to form accessible symbols. On a daily basis, I view these machines as cute robotic cheerleaders spelling simple things out or somekind of playful sci-fi semaphore flag machine. I also enjoy the mental lifestyle of developing this kind of work. The constant re-iteration through twenty-six letters has a rhythm and pacing to it that I am drawn to. I travel with a sketchbook, and I jot my ideas down where ever I am. My ideas for these typefaces came mostly out of my day dreaming in train stations. Those are times of the day when I stare at large dynamic type displays while waiting for a train with dynamic type on the side of it. I board the train and gaze at more dynamic type while waiting to reach my destination. Over time, I've grown incredibly bored of this stylistic monotony, and that is what my daydreams are in response to. These machines are built in response to my day dreams.

Josh Nimoy is an artist / designer / hacker. He holds a BA from UCLA and masters from NYU ITP. His work ranges from traditional painting and print design to undefined technological experimentation. Conceptually, Nimoy confronts effects of capitalism on the digital arts arena while expressing personal catharsis against computers. Nimoy has been a graduate independent study advisor to students at SVA, and aided several classes at UCLA Design | Media Arts. Nimoy has worked creatively with companies like Weiden+Kennedy and Benetton. Josh lectures & exhibits globally, and was most recently a designer at Pentagram. Currently, Nimoy is accepting independent contract work from his studio.


?Portfolio & Contact: jtnimoy.net
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Type a character to this sign with a mobile device and it responds by forming the approximate typographic shape through contorting a thin white ribbon.

Seen in I.D. 50th Anniversary Issue The Way We Live Today, Nov 2004

Videos and Sketches

Davenport Sans

As you press keys on the keyboard, six wooden "brush strokes" shift into place, forming the character most recently typed. This typeface is named after Thomas Davenport, inventor of the first DC motor in 1834.

Seen in I.D. Magazine Emerging Designers Make Their Mark, Sept 2004

Videos and Sketches

Type a key on the keyboard and see the paper rollers form the according graphic with printed strips of every possible pixel combo.

Shown in New York Gallery: Infinite Fill Show, curated by Cory + Jamie Arcangel

Videos and Sketches

? 2004, Josh Nimoy - jtnimoy.net