IBM Plex: A Typeface with a Story

Captured in a three-part conversation, available via the links below.

Daniel Clark & Cooper Sanborn joined by Mike Abbink

Interface presents a three-part conversation, recorded at IBM Studios San Francisco. In this series, IBM Watson Customer Engagement product designers Cooper Sanborn and Daniel Clark are joined by Mike Abbink, the Executive creative director of IBM Brand Experience & Design, to talk about the history of IBM Plex™ and how his own experiences shaped its evolution.

PART 1

*Please note the audio quality varies in this file, caused by compression during the recording process.
Mike Abbink

In the first part of the conversation, hear Mike discuss his early background and inspirations in-and-around the world of design and typography — influencing and inspiring him as he crafted a professional journey that culminated in his current role.

As the conversation unfolds, we begin to understand how Mike, Bold Monday from the Netherlands and his in-house team uniquely approached the task of creating a new corporate typeface for IBM — consciously building upon the foundations of a company that is known primarily for its technological achievements, but that has arguably been equally shaped by the central role of design.

Over the years, IBM has enlisted the talents of icons — such as Paul Rand, Eliot Noyes, Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, and system designer Josef Muller-Brockmann — to shape IBM’s identity, culture, and products. This influence is clearly identified as the bedrock to the inspiration behind the new IBM Plex™.

PART 2

*Please note the audio quality varies in this file, caused by compression during the recording process.

In the second part of the conversation, you’ll learn about the many iterations and variants of IBM Plex™, and how they’ve already come together to visually define one of the most recognized brands in the world — while at the same time conveying the complex and dynamic relationship between man and machine.

In part three, we conclude our conversation by digging into the future of IBM Plex™ — learning how Mike’s team and 1,600-plus IBM designers will carry the torch of design innovation forward. You’ll learn how designers are being empowered with more ways than ever to communicate, code, and express themselves — and how that revolution is shaping the ongoing evolution of the typeface. All of this in an non-exclusive way, with IBM Plex™ now freely available to everyone.

PART 3

*Please note the audio quality varies in this file, caused by compression during the recording process.

Download IBM Plex™ and access the Git repository via the links below.

Melanie Butcher Amplify 2017
Kareem Yusuf Amplify 2017

IBM Plex™ Links

https://github.com/IBM/type

https://www.ibm.com/design/language/experience/visual/typography