Ryman Eco is a beautiful, free, sustainable font that uses one third less ink than standard fonts and 27% less ink than the leading sustainable font. It’s estimated that if everyone used the font while printing, more than 490 million ink cartridges could be saved every year.
However, no typeface has ever entered widespread use without first engaging and being embraced by the design community. Helvetica, Futura and Century Gothic, for example, were all developed and adopted by designers long before they established themselves as popular, everyday fonts.
To highlight Ryman Eco’s credentials as a credible and aesthetically pleasing design tool, creative agency Grey London has enlisted the help of some of the UK’s most respected design practitioners.
The Alphabet Poster Project sees 26 handpicked typographers, designers and art directors each creating a unique poster featuring one letter from the Ryman Eco Alphabet.
“A lowercase ‘O’ becomes a semi-submerged iceberg. Fat fonts take up ink; Ryman Eco reduces ink, thus decreasing print cartridge production. In turn this slows the effects of global warming, subsequently saving the poles from melting and people from drowning.”
The brief was two words long: ‘beautifully sustainable’, and the result is an visually eclectic, stimulating ‘alphabet’, celebrating the beauty of the font and serving as a reminder of its environmentally-friendly purpose.
Only a single prototype of each poster was printed. They were photographed and will be displayed in a digital gallery where people can explore them in detail, download and share them. All without using a single drop of ink.
“The letter ‘X’ was a bit of a gift from a design point of view. Alongside the letter ‘O’, its the most symettrical of the letter forms in the Ryman Eco Alphabet. The cross also has strong semiotic acociations and is universaly recognised as a warning symbol. So that’s how I decided to use it. I placed it over a printer cartridge and made it red to give it a sense of urgency and impact. The message is ‘use Ryman Eco and cross one print cartridge off your annual usage’. I was pleased with the graphic simplicity of the poster and I also think that it demonstrates the potential of the font to work well with imagery. Despite being bold the channels in the letters never completely conceal the image beneath.”
The Microsite — www.rymaneco.com— includes a host of additional content, including footage of the creators discussing what influenced their designs.
The creative collaborators included artist Richard Hogg, Design Studios DBLG & Bunch, illustration duo, Crispin Finn and award winning book cover designer, Jon Gray.
“The last printing revolution shaped our world, the next one will come in many forms. Which is why we chose to capture the beauty and elegance of Ryman Eco using 3D printing. By building our letter on many levels, we were able to produce an object that really exposed the true form and beauty of the font. Once printed, we photographed it on a simple white background using natural light to really emphasise the relationship between the old and the new.”
“The intention was to stress test the font and demonstrate is versatility, so we invited a broad cross section of creative and designers with different and eclectic specialties and styles to work on the Alphabet. Hopefully what we’ve created with this Alphabet is a series of artworks that inspire other designers to incorporate Ryman Eco into their font libraries”
-Andy Lockley, the project’s Creative Director.
“As a designer — and a print cartridge user — the letter ‘C’ has a single, and very significant meaning: cyan. From the outset, this colour became a ‘must have’ component for my composition. The dramatic crop of the lowercase ‘C’ focuses on the letterform’s beautiful terminal, visually creating a tsunami like wave representing the rising sea level and the increased risk of natural disasters caused by global warming. Inspired by Ryman Eco’s concept of ‘using less’, Rising ‘C’ Level is a simple yet striking graphic that aims to showcase the crafted detail of this new sustainable typeface.”
Ryman Eco was created by Monotype’s Dan Rhatigan and creative agency Grey London on behalf of Stationery retailer, Ryman. It uses an average 33% less ink than a suite of standard fonts including Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia and Verdana. The font is cleverly designed to capitalise on the ink bleed and toner spill that occurs on home and office printers.
“S is about Sustainability. As a design community we have a responsibility to be aware of our environmental impact. The creative choices we make everyday have a positive and negative effect on the planet. My idea was about a harmonious relationship between nature and design. The graceful letter form takes on the characteristics of water and bursting through it is a healthy looking Salmon. My intention was to create an image bursting with optimism and vitality.”
“Here you see a brown letter B wearing brogues and bowing to a beetle; thereby expressing a deep and earnest respect for nature. Whether the beetle appreciates this gesture is unknown. He endures it with a dignity and stoicism typical of his species. He is a Japanese rhinoceros beetle, or kabutomushi.”