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Created by TED’s founder, TEDMED is the independent health and medicine edition of the world-famous TED conference. Bacterium was commissioned by Alexander Isley as his studio began work on a range of branded materials for the 2014 conference. The team had developed a prototype series of amoeba-like letters as standalone artwork, but they wanted to refine the concept while building it out into a full typeface that could be used seamlessly on everything from signage to posters to the screen on the main stage.
Bacterium automatically substitutes characters to achieve its organic, shape-shifting look. Multiple versions of each character are swapped in and out as the user types with the font. A custom tool, written in Python, outputs the OpenType substitution code that makes this possible. The design process was full of experimentation as we tested out all kinds of letterform constructions to get the necessary variety of shapes.
Direction: Alexander Isley