Px Grotesk – when Pixels become Curves

For more than two decades, typography and screen technology have not been dissociated. While the impact of the screen on the design has remained an ongoing issue for designers, Nicolas Eigenheer capitalized on the limitation of the pixel to research how technological parameters could create new forms in typography.

Px Grotesk is designed after the rendering of typographic curves on screens. At smaller sizes, pixels sometimes simplify the shapes brutally. From this antagonism, Nicolas Eigenheer has designed a typeface that embeds the screen parameters into a classic linear drawing. The result is hybrid as the shapes combine formal solutions from the pixel grid and a linear drawing. The signature of the pixel is kept on the typeface and creates a contradictory relation between a grid and a linear drawing. It is particularly visible in letters such as ‘a’, ‘f’, ‘j’, ‘r’, ‘y’, ‘1’, and in the counterforms.

Initiated during a workshop at Ecal (University of Art & design Lausanne), Px Grotesk was then developed for a monograph on Carsten Nicolai designed by Gavillet & Rust ("Static Fades" published by JRP|Ringier in 2007). The typeface echoed perfectly the world of the German artist, operating in the conflictual zone between art and science. The book was awarded at the Most Beautiful Swiss Books and at the Most Beautiful Books of the World competitions.

The font works both for screen and print use, and its geometrical simplification offers a spectacular legibility and sharpness at small sizes. At bigger sizes, it reveals a sophisticated drawing and an unprecedented aesthetic for a classic grotesque.

Px Grotesk is available as a three-cuts family and their italics, with an extra pixel cut. The case covers full Latin A language and several opentype features such as case-sensitive variants, proportional/tabular figures, arbitrary fractions, ordinals, superiors/inferiors and a slashed zero.