A High-Concept Typeface Inspired by Meteorology

Posted inType Tuesday

Hour, designed by Federico Parra Barrios, is a high-concept typeface that interprets the forms of engraved letters against the sun’s movement and changing ambient light. The resulting typeface, though only drawn in black and white, appears to have tones of gray.

Variability sets Hour apart despite the typeface having only two axes. The first, “hour,” acts as a sundial, determining the angle of light; the second, “okta,” pulls from the meteorological concept of cloud cover, playing with the intensity of light, from opaque cloud cover to a sunny, clear day.

This movement of light around the forms gives Hour an infinite quality and makes it uniquely suited for motion design. Hour can also be used for eye-catching display.

On his 205TF foundry profile, Barrios talks about his work and process. While typeface designers work with some formal and technical restraints, he explains, Barrios thinks about his craft more as a “sculptor who gives form to language.” The fact that the foundry places a high value on experimentation is perfect for his process because he believes that accidents are an ideal proving ground for new typefaces. Barrios says that, with accidents, “I rule out the most obvious solutions and discover the most interesting ones.”

Learn more about Federico Parra Barrios and follow his work on Instagram @federicoparrabarrios and at 205TF.

About 205TF

205TF is a small foundry based in Lyon, France, supporting a small number of creators and high-quality typefaces with a ‘certain French spirit.’ The foundry brings together both type designers at the pinnacle of their craft and those who are beginning their career.