BC 3018

Initials tend to be associated with gilded medieval illuminated manuscripts as meaningful echoes of the texts that follow. But they can also go their own way. BC 3018 is an initial alphabet which draws on traditional typographic discipline regardless of whether it has a place and meaning in today’s digital age.

spurny 1024x768

“Dangerous Visions” is the famous and award-winning anthology of controversial sci-fi stories edited by the American author Harlan Ellison and published in 1967. With its inclination to experimentation, surrealism, and sexual topics, it became the manifesto of the direction of the New Wave and changed the way we look at all of science fiction. The ambitious third volume, half of whose nearly one hundred authors have already passed away, has waited since 1979 to be published and has become a vision unto itself.

Its originally-intended use and inspiration comes from the legendary sci-fi anthology “Dangerous Visions,” edited by Harlan Ellison. The dystopias in the book gave the typeface direction, in which letters emerge from printed links of intertwined anatomical drawings, technical features, astral objects or galactic bodies. Visions of a dark future have taken shape in tiny abstract stories with elements of irrationality, arbitrariness and malicious stubbornness playing out in every letter. The only direct reference, the letter “O,” looking out like a god over the entire character set, symbolizes the “AM” supercomputer which takes over the world in Ellison’s famous story “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.”

A selection of source images used. Scientific drawings from atoms to anatomy, and occultism to wormholes. A panopticon of parasitology, phytochemistry, artificial intelligence and mechanoluminescence. The majority comes from books published before “Dangerous Visions.”

A selection of source images used. Scientific drawings from atoms to anatomy, and occultism to wormholes. A panopticon of parasitology, phytochemistry, artificial intelligence and mechanoluminescence. The majority comes from books published before “Dangerous Visions.”

The sources of these originally sober and innocuous scientific drawings come from a wide variety of books, from “Anatomy for Assistant Medical Staff and Health and Social Workers,” to the “Ritual for the Evocation unto Visible Appearance of the Great Spirit Taphthartharath,” and its thematic inconsistency reflects the complexity of those skeptical visions. This pseudo-typographic cumulation of shapes under the influence of science fiction topics gave rise to a typeface whose use is a journey into the unknown. Its disparate shapes with bones, embryos or planetary rings deviating from the baseline arise in resignation to the original purpose of its solitary usage.

The creation of this initial alphabet began as a semester project in 2013 in the Studio of Typography at the UMPRUM Academy in Prague. The typeface’s name is a leap into the future, a celebration of the 1000th anniversary of its release and at the same time a play on words on the name of the type foundry referring to a negative year, possibly to an alternate history.

The creation of this initial alphabet began as a semester project in 2013 in the Studio of Typography at the UMPRUM Academy in Prague. The typeface’s name is a leap into the future, a celebration of the 1000th anniversary of its release and at the same time a play on words on the name of the type foundry referring to a negative year, possibly to an alternate history.

The creation of this initial alphabet began as a semester project in 2013 in the Studio of Typography at the UMPRUM Academy in Prague. The typeface’s name is a leap into the future, a celebration of the 1000th anniversary of its release and at the same time a play on words on the name of the type foundry referring to a negative year, possibly to an alternate history.

The creation of this initial alphabet began as a semester project in 2013 in the Studio of Typography at the UMPRUM Academy in Prague. The typeface’s name is a leap into the future, a celebration of the 1000th anniversary of its release and at the same time a play on words on the name of the type foundry referring to a negative year, possibly to an alternate history.

The creation of this initial alphabet began as a semester project in 2013 in the Studio of Typography at the UMPRUM Academy in Prague. The typeface’s name is a leap into the future, a celebration of the 1000th anniversary of its release and at the same time a play on words on the name of the type foundry referring to a negative year, possibly to an alternate history.

The creation of this initial alphabet began as a semester project in 2013 in the Studio of Typography at the UMPRUM Academy in Prague. The typeface’s name is a leap into the future, a celebration of the 1000th anniversary of its release and at the same time a play on words on the name of the type foundry referring to a negative year, possibly to an alternate history.

The creation of this initial alphabet began as a semester project in 2013 in the Studio of Typography at the UMPRUM Academy in Prague. The typeface’s name is a leap into the future, a celebration of the 1000th anniversary of its release and at the same time a play on words on the name of the type foundry referring to a negative year, possibly to an alternate history.

The creation of this initial alphabet began as a semester project in 2013 in the Studio of Typography at the UMPRUM Academy in Prague. The typeface’s name is a leap into the future, a celebration of the 1000th anniversary of its release and at the same time a play on words on the name of the type foundry referring to a negative year, possibly to an alternate history.

BC 3018 contains a complete diacritic set in four variants, in addition to the full versal set, numbers, punctuation, currency and other symbols. With the complexity of its thousand-point pixel character, the alphabet is on the edge of what is technically possible for fonts and on the edge of possibilities for initial typefaces.