Here's a cool twist on your typical trial font: Sharp Type's inaugural "video-font" Beta release, which is a first look at Earth, our forthcoming flagship typeface. As a font foundry, we've always been interested in providing new ways for designers to play with type, and this unique early-release project progresses the possibilities of type design and typography. Check out the mesmerizing Spring Melt video below to preview all 26 letters of Earth melting. It's eleven minutes of font ASMR that piggybacks on the mindful themes of the season, offering a portal to cool down – consider – contemplate. While it wasn't initially intended, this project nevertheless touches on the climate crisis in a way that is ultimately hopeful and regenerative.
We especially love seeing our typefaces in the physical world. Two years ago, we celebrated the Yule by burning CNC cut letters of our typeface Ogg from A through Z, which we affectionately coined the ‘Yule Ogg’ 😏. The materiality of typefaces is important to us, and this project continues our interest in the deconstruction of real, tangible letters. The human element fundamental to this process -- from ideation to completion -- is something that gives us expressible joy. It seemed natural to consider another element -- ice -- and melt Earth as an ode to our passage from the cold Winter months to Summer right around the corner.
Working with Chisel-it Ice, Sharp Type's Chantra Malee commissioned A-Z of Earth's Latin alphabet as sculptures from CNC-cut ice blocks. She painstakingly captured each letter of the Latin alphabet melting on video before stringing them together in sequence. Featuring a custom ambient soundtrack, the final video shows each letter turning from ice, and then back into water. This speaks to the cyclic nature of things, with an emphasis on regenerative possibilities -- of this Beta font, and, more broadly, our world.
It was only while we were prepping the final video for release that Lucas had the idea to offer the complete A-Z set of Earth videos packaged as a special kind of Beta "typeface". We've intended this release to be explored as video files in After Effects, but the script is available on our Github if you want to experiment with automatically generated word slugs. This is a prelude to a very special debut, and the possibilities might be as vast as Earth itself. Get the Earth "Spring Melt" Beta release here.
Chantra was inspired to create the Spring Melt video by the record amount of snowfall and rain that fell in California this past winter. The subsequent melt has resulted in a super bloom so vibrant that it can be seen from space.
For centuries, the California superbloom has occurred once every ten years or so. It always follows a specific sequence of conditions that results in a dizzying display of color as the state’s central region blossoms with hectare upon hectare of flowers -- as far as the eye can see. However, the phenomenon was in decline for much of the 21st century as the state faced a prolonged drought. Within the past six years, though, we’ve seen three superblooms in quick succession: 2017, 2019, and now this year – which has proven to be the wildest one yet.
A. Nahanni River Adventures, Alsek Rivier Rafting Image Gallery, 2013
B. Nahanni River Adventures, Great Hiking Image Gallery, 2013
C. Momentum River Expeditions, Illinois River Rafting Image Gallery 2016
D. Dailyoverview, benjaminrgrant and digitalglobe, 2019
E. Vogue, Smith Collection/Gado, Postcard from 1935
F. Rob Schumacher/The Republic/ USA TODAY NETWORK, 2023
As we were building this new video font for Beta release, the fact that we were "melting Earth" didn't escape us. The beauty of the super bloom and the wealth of water in California this year are smaller parts of a larger picture and a longer timeline. The intention of this Spring Melt video is to provide some respite, and also a portal to contemplate this Earth –a typeface – and our Earth – the world.”