Back Story: Anton Bolin is a designer and gaming enthusiast living in Stockholm, who also happens to play the bass for the Swedish hardcore punk band Pissjar. His bandmates tapped him to improvise a logo for the band’s upcoming debut album, Apathy & Cheap Thrills, to be released on Religious Vomit and Urinal Vinyl Records this fall. With those names in mind, Bolin’s design direction for the record cover feels—dare we say—appropriate: his logo is comprised of letterforms that he created with his own urine.
Over the course of six months and approximately 300 work sessions in his shower (sorry landlord), Bolin expanded his original vision to include an entire alphabet. “After a couple of hard days of peeing, we realized that this could be so much more than just a record cover and a couple of T-shirts,” he explains. Debuting last month, Pissjar Sans is an all-caps character set that looks, well, like piss.
Why’s it called Pissjar Sans? The typeface is named after the band, which Bolin claims “kind of lacks serifs.” What exactly it means for humans to be without serifs, we’ll leave up to you. One thing is clear, though: Pissjar the band certainly has balls.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? This display face is dirty and rough, and the letter shapes from glyph to glyph are random; its visual consistency lies mainly in the splatter. As yet the typeface has no numerals, lower case characters, language support, or Open Type alternates. But before dismissing Pissjar Sans as a sophomoric insult to typeface designers everywhere, consider architect Louis Sullivan’s famous line “Form (ever) follows function.” The punk process of the typeface’s creation, its final appearance, and its suitability for its intended use lend it legitimate credentials. It’s entirely appropriate in its context.
We know what you’re thinking: yes, your kid probably could (and maybe even has) done this. Technical skill isn’t really the point here. “What really differentiates Pissjar Sans is that it’s not drawn by hand, or with a computer, but with a part of the body that is rarely put to work in the service of typeface design,” says Bolin. And he’s got a point.
What should I use it for? Create a logo for that clever startup you’re working on! Pissjar is also great for cover letters, wedding invitations, school reports, I’m-breaking-up-with-you texts, and anywhere you hope to truly piss someone off through a written communication.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? A clean neo-grotesque sans serif in a smaller point size contrasts nicely. Try the classic and straitlaced Bank Gothic as a well-mannered, contained, and tidy companion.
Bonus round: How it’s done We are happy to leak Bolin’s exacting development process in case you want to try this at home. “After experimenting with different techniques and materials, I stapled a set of bed sheets, which could contain the liquid for a perfect amount of time, over a remodeled picture frame,” he says. “Then I just started to pee a lot, one letter per pee session. When my bladder was empty, I had to photograph my creation as quickly as possible because the lines get distorted and soak into the fabric after about seven or eight seconds. After that I vectorized the photos and edited the alphabet using Glyphs.”
Easy enough. Go over-hydrate yourself and get to work.