Calcula

Design concept

Calcula is a display typeface that uses smart OpenType features to explore the space between lettering and typeface design, creating maze-like spaces between letters. Inspired by the geometric Kufic style of traditional Arabic calligraphy, Calcula is a functional OpenType typeface, with design principles that are rooted in lettering, in that each letter reacts to neighbouring letters, adapting to its context. Read more about the concept of Calcula in this in-depth essay ▸

calcula grid

Layers

Calcula is great for creating geometric patterns from single letters, combinations of letters, or even entire words. Using Adobe Illustrator’s Pattern Brush tool, even crazier visual possibilities open up.

calcula layers

Patterns

Calcula is great for creating geometric patterns from single letters, combinations of letters, or even entire words. Using Adobe Illustrator’s Pattern Brush tool, even crazier visual possibilities open up.

Patterns Effects

OpenType features

Calcula maintains a strict relationship between negative and positive spaces. The asymmetric shapes interlock with the preceding or following shapes, which requires many alternaives and complex OpenType programming and the creation of over 6,000 ligatures per style. Specially for this project, Tal Leming created Ligature Builder, a Python program that would take these parts and create new glyphs, assembling them in various combinations.

INTERSTELLAR

Authors

Calcula was designed by Shiva Nallaperumal, with the help of Tal Leming, who programmed the GSUB features and wrote scripts that generate the ligatures, and Frederik Berlaen who created the custom scripts that made the new decorative styles possible. Calcula was published in June 2017.