Simon Browne

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— Typeface

While travelling in Europe, I began to receive a sudden stream of spam emails. They started abruptly, sent to a private address I used only for work correspondence. How did this happen? Bots in my search bar watching my keystrokes and examining the results?

Maybe I had inadvertently used this particular email address to register for cloud wifi, during a stopover at an airport. A simple solution would have been to abandon it. Out of curiosity, I decided to keep it active. Something about the subject lines was intriguing. These statements seemed to be some kind of portrait of their recipient (myself?).  They carried the promise of a better life, if I only would click and be transported, although ultimately I knew they led nowhere worthwhile.

I thought of making postcards. I dreamed of hunting down the postal addresses of these spam merchants in order to reply in kind, to have some form of dialogue with my correspondents. These would have no return address or handwritten message, just the subject lines set in a neutral font. 

Mappa blends together elements of neo-grotesque and geometric sans-serif letterforms. The characters are drawn based on two popular typefaces, Akzidenz-Grotesk and Futura, in an attempt to arrive at forms that promise one thing but deliver another. It has been designed for continuous text, in regular and italic weights, including ligatures and diacritics for Western, Central and South Eastern European languages. Currently the character set is being expanded to include light, bold and extended weights.

Full specimen available on request.

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