The Q Project is a game-like type system that enables users to create a nearly infinite number of variations. Inspired by toys like Lego or Meccano, Q invites you to explore its vast creative space and discover not only new solutions, but also new problems. Q consists of 6 uppercase Base fonts plus 35 attachments that can be added as individual layers (Q Base and Serifs). It also comes with a variable font with a motion axis (Q Mechanic), as well as three levels of basic shapes that can be combined into new forms (Q Shapes). Read more about the background of the Q Project in this in-depth article.
Bases and Serifs
The base fonts and the attachments are available as sets of fonts which share vertical and horizontal metrics so that they can be combined and layered. With the use of colour, they provide a nearly infinite number of variations. The base layers can also be combined to produce layering effects.
Q Mechanic is a separate font that combines two bases, Q Normal and Q Dots. It features an unusual implementation of OpenType’s Discretionary Ligatures feature, replacing single glyphs with multiple substitutions to break the letters into pieces. NB: This particular GSUB Lookup Type works fine in web browsers and Apple’s Pages and Keynote, but in Adobe software, it requires the Adobe World-Ready Composer to be activated.
The same font can be used as a Variable font, in applications which support this functionality.
Finally, the Q Project comes with three sets of shapes that allow the creation of new letterforms. Shapes 1 is rooted in classic Roman inscriptional lettering. It presents a collection of brush strokes proposed by Edward Catich that can be used to recreate all capital letters of the Latin alphabet. The shapes are assigned to keystrokes of their font, or you can use the online interface to drag, drop, and rotate them. Shapes 2 is a more abstract, monolinear collection of elements for building capital letters, while Shapes 3 is a collection of rudimentary geometric shapes that can be used to create letters, other forms, or anything really. The combination of three levels of abstraction provides room to explore the conventions of typography and create new models of the alphabet.
Beyond the standard OpenType fonts, the Q project also includes physical drafting stencils with the basic shapes needed to construct the capital letters of the Latin alphabet in various styles. Just as with creative toys such as Lego or Meccano, you can build what the designer envisioned, or you can ditch the instructions in favour of free play and create something else entirely.
The Q Project was conceived in 2016 by Peter Biľak, and published in June 2020. Nikola Djurek produced the Q Shape 01, loosely based on the Edward Catich’s basic brush strokes from his book The Origin of the Serif: Brush Writing and Roman Letters.