Wordplay: typographic installations from Monotype

A series of typographic installations were unveiled in Clerkenwell this week, courtesy of Monotype and Clerkenwell Design Week. Lettering-based artworks include a wooden bench sculpted in the shape of Neue Haas Unica, an anamorphic mural in Clarendon and a lovely use of Festival of Britain typeface Festival Titling alongside vintage artwork from the Museum of London.

Titled Wordplay, the outdoor display is made up of seven installations in different locations around Clerkenwell. Each uses a different material and a different typeface from Monotype’s library.

Celebrate, on the aptly named Sans Walk, uses archive imagery from the Museum of London, including vintage maps of Clerkenwell and the surrounding area, Festival of Britain artwork, a painting of nearby St Paul’s and one of Sidney Paget’s Sherlock Holmes illustrations for The Strand magazine. The featured typeface is Phillip Boydell’s Festival Titling, created in 1950 as the official type for the Festival of Britain. Letters were cut by hand from sheets of vinyl, which were printed with illustrations and fixed to the brick wall using a heat gun.


Sebastian Cox has constructed a lovely bench using Toshi Omagari’s Neue Haas Unica, made from American curly maple and tulipwood:


Manou Bendan and Jan Mohammed used Clarendon to create this anamorphic mural, painted in temporary chalk in Passing Alley:


Sally Hogarth designed Discover, which is cut from fibre cement and uses a repeating pattern in Gill Sans (the word discover is projected on to the ground around midday as sun shines through the negative space)


Milton Glaser’s Stencil typeface was used to create this installation above the Dovetail pub on Jerusalem Passage, which is cut from Appleplec, a sheet of plastic embedded with LEDs to give a soft glow at night:


And Edward Johnston’s ITC Johnston was used to create Experience, an installation on Clerkenwell Road made out of machine perforated metal sheets. The display is hard to read from a distance (particularly given the volume of passing traffic), but we’re told was subject to strict planning controls – Monotype initially planned to place letters on top of the wall they are currently fixed to, but the idea was deemed too dangerous by the council due to trains passing underneath.

Image by Sophie Mutevelian


The final installation is See, also designed by Hogarth, which features several mirrored columns printed with the letters ‘S’ ‘E’ ‘E’ in various typefaces. Hogarth says she wanted to play with perspectives – columns appear to merge with the ground and each projects several views of the surrounding park and letters on facing columns.


Installations are in place until this weekend, and Monotype has set up a website documenting each design and its location at, as well as teaser videos showing how they were made.