Thanks to winning a grant from Kultur.Gemeinschaften, we are pleased to announce the revitalization of our extensive online archive. We worked with Berlin and Oslo-based NODE design studio to conceive and design the concept. Berlin-based Ungroup creative practice implemented the code to revolutionize the Der Greif experience and Swiss type design agency DINAMO supports us with beautiful fonts. In this article, we asked the team at DINAMO to reflect on dergreif.org’s Diatype typeface.
The typeface you’re currently reading is Diatype, a warm yet sharp sans serif that we released in 2020. Its friendly yet geometric shapes reference typefaces from the phototypesetting era of the 1960s. Like the photography of today, Diatype is rooted in light-sensitive printing processes. But also like the photography of today, we updated Diatype’s forms for contemporary eyes and screens.
Essentially, Diatype’s name and shapes harken back to clunky, pre-digital typesetting machines. A “Diatype” was a manual instrument used for phototypesetting text: To print letters, a user would first insert a disk containing a font, individually select each character by rotating a crowbar, and then expose each letter to light-sensitive film. This film would then be transferred to an offset printing plate. As with photographs back in the day, each letter on a Diatype disk was exposed and developed.
Typefaces once popular on Diatype machines are cool but feel a little dated now. So we’ve reimagined their lines for the present. The typeface’s proportions have been streamlined to create a more comfortable reading experience. And horizontally cut terminals lift the font further into the future.
More recently, we released a rounded version of Diatype, which we like to think of as its friendlier, softer cousin. Diatype Rounded’s vibe is bold, a little pop, and has an understated humor to it. Imagine someone trying to trace Diatype while wearing boxing gloves.
We feel that Diatype sits neatly in Der Grief’s garden as its a pragmatic, relaxed font that lets the images around it do the talking. But zoom in closer or pump up the weight, and its individual personality shines through. Imagine playing badminton with beautiful, solid stones. Diatype is reliable but also a little strange in a similar way.
Dinamo is a Swiss type design agency offering retail and bespoke typefaces, as well as hardware, software, consultancy, and editions.