28 june 2021 — walhalla
Grammato awarded

German Design Award for Grammato:
expressive writing with dynamic letters

After having already won awards in New York and Tokyo, we have once again been awarded a prestigious international prize, the German Design Award Gold. Underware received this award for their invention of a new way of writing, writing with dynamic letters. This makes it possible for authors as well as designers to manifest themselves more expressively through text.

Until now, texts have always been either handwritten or typed using a static font. With grammatography, Underware introduces a third way of writing that combines both worlds: the expressive possibilities of handwritten text combined with the accessibility of digital texts. This allows search engines to still recognize, index and translate these personal texts, but also creates the ability to influence the expression of the letters: the “tone” of the text.

Using the Higher Order Interpolation technique developed by Underware, it is possible to deform letters in such a way as to create a new form of expression that is not possible with static letters. This was recently shown at the exhibition From Typography to Grammatography at the Print Gallery in Tokyo. As Akiem wonders: “Why can’t letters be deformed and played the same way music is played with a piano?” Because this new technology is based on the existing technological standard of digital letters, it can be applied in any software environment. From social media to operating systems, from apps to interfaces, from smartphones to washing machines.


The dream of the writing machine
The desire for a writing machine and a more expressive use of letters is not new. For example, the French watchmaker Jaquet Droz built a writing doll as early as 1770, and Steve Jobs presented the first Macintosch with the now legendary computer-written demo “insanely great” to the public in 1984. The major difference with grammatography is that in those two cases it was only a simulation. With grammatography, the dream of a writing machine – a machine that can write as beautifully as a human – is now finally realized, available on any computer.

Enthusiastic reception
“Why is writing with letters as static today as it was with Gutenberg 500 years ago? It’s 2021, right?”, Bas asks himself. The judges of the Type Directors Club in Tokyo and also New York, and of the German Design Award in Frankfurt also saw this as true, which is why they independently awarded grammatography. In their view, grammatography will have a great impact not only on the future of written language, but above all on the idea of writing as such.


In case you have questions, or want to know more, just contact us.
German Design Award: https://www.german-design-award.com