Typeforce 5: Razzle Dazzle 'Em

Easy is rarely worthwhile. Our title wall for Typeforce 5 was anything but, and it was absolutely worth every second it took to design, build and install. 

We're not afraid to get introspective around here, especially when it comes to our process, which is equal parts ritual and intuition. We build in room to learn and experiment on the fly. Like sharks trailing the scent of blood in the water, we follow our instincts, changing course as required, but we're also highly disciplined and skeptical of easy answers. 


Typeforce 5 Razzle Dazzle Letterforms


Type Design

Following this thread on mechanics and maritime predators, we stumbled upon an old camouflaging technique used by naval fleets during World War I. Created and named dazzle painting or "razzle dazzle" by British artist Norman Wilkinson, the method draws from nature—think zebra stripes—and uses high contrast patterning to distort perspective, masking a ship's form and direction of travel.

So began our own dazzling experiment, with type as our vessel. We first sketched isometric letterforms, then designed patterns using multipoint perspective grids. The effect confuses the eye and distorts each letter.

Typeforce 5 Dazzle Installation Detail

Typeforce 5 Completed Letterforms

Typeforce 5 Letterforms in Process

Typeforce 5 Letterform Detail

Typeforce 5 Finishing Touches

Typeforce 5 Pattern Detail

Typeforce 5 Pattern Close-up

Typeforce 5 Razzle Dazzle Geometry

Typeforce 5 Letterform Process

Typeforce 5 LED Lights


Build & Installation

Next we brought our blueprints into the third dimension. We used 2x4s to build wooden frames for our letterforms, covering each in three layers of oversized vellum, to which we meticulously applied strips on strips of black masking tape in our custom dazzle pattern. We cut foam insulation boards to back each letter, but first painted and rigged them with rows of LED strip lights.

Finally, we suspended the finished forms in the window at Co-Prosperity Sphere, announcing that year's Typeforce exhibition had officially begun.

Typeforce 5 Letterform Blueprint

Typeforce 5 Letterform Lumber

Typeforce 5 Foam Insulation

Typeforce 5 Letterform Construction

Typeforce 5 Letterform Preparation

Typeforce 5 Letteform Backing

Typeforce 5 Pattern Preparation

Typeforce 5 Razzle Dazzle Pattern

Typeforce 5 Dazzle Pattern Application

Typeforce 5 Letterform Painting

Typeforce 5 LED Light Wiring

Typeforce 5 Lighting Installation

Typeforce 5 LED Strip Lights

Typeforce 5 Letterform Completion

Typeforce 5 Installation Process

Typeforce 5 Final Installation