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Name: Galapagos
Designer: Felix Salut in collaboration with Dinamo
Foundry: Dinamo
Release Date: December 2016

Back story: Galapagos is a modular typeface system that got its start as a physical board game made up of nine separate line segments—curved, straight, and circular— printed on square 15 x 15-cm cards that can be combined in an almost infinite number of ways to make letterforms.“The project was all about combinations and possibilities within a visual system. It was made to scribble, write, draw, create patterns, build, and invent,” says Salut. “After making the game, I immediately became interested in translating it into a digital form. With Dinamo, we first made a simple tool where you can just select the nine different shapes and rotate them to build your own forms or letters. We pushed the idea further to build a typeface where each character exists in multiple versions.” The original board game and an app will be available along with the font by the end of 2016.

Why’s it called Galapagos? Just as the Galapagos Islands are home to a vast number of unique species that were the focus of Charles Darwin’s evolutionary studies, the Galapagos typeface encompasses a range of unique characters whose forms evolve from one another.

What are its distinguishing characteristics? Overall Galapagos has a stark, futuristic, space-age feel. The most noticeable characteristic is the amount of variation in its appearance. There are so many options for each letter, it would be take a concerted effort to typeset the same block of text in the same way more than once. Wrap your head around this: its 42 differing cuts are classified by their basic forms: round, square, or skew; plus combinations called round square, square skew, round skew, and roundsquareskew; and on three weights (light, regular, and bold), with or without a grid behind the letter segments. Whew.

What should I use it for? It’ll work best in display environments that encourage avant-garde type treatments, and it’s great fun in an animated format such as this website, created by Salut together with Maria Barnas and Jakub Straka. Galapagos would be perfect for street signs on Mars.

Who’s it friends with? Something about the smallest round circular element and the overall geometry of Galapagos just screams, “I want to hang out with Futura!” Salut also likes to pair it with Programm Neue or Pareto.