13 june 2023 — walhalla
Personalising devices


Using a device while not using it is an interesting concept. “Using” is an elastic concept. When do you not use something, or no longer use it? A clock hanging on the wall is used. But a utensil that has much more potential than just displaying the time, that is hung on the wall to display only the time, is it used?

That hardware manufacturers are now, like Apple, deliberately adding a new mode to their devices when they are semi-used is a fascinating step. Apple recently introduced StandBy Mode for iOS17, a full-screen mode while charging your iPhone or iPad. Probably of all the new features in that StandBy Mode, the clock is the most interesting and useful, as that feature is the closest thing to non-use. A clock is only to look at casually, not to interact with.

11 april 2023 — walhalla
Typeworkshop: Signature moves

New typeworkshop coming up this summer! Do you want to learn type design or improve your skills? Do you also happen to appreciate nice weather? Then this 5-day workshop in Barcelona might be the right opportunity. Instructed by our own Sami Kortemäki, participants will explore the relation between personal characteristics and their own visual representation in text. Every letter you draw is personal, but does it also reflect your own personality?

Workshop: Signature moves
Handwriting is a primal act; while writing we can’t hide our personality. In this workshop we use our intimate, personal letters as a starting point for type design: your own handwriting as well as your signature. The signature is everybody’s most personal writing, everybody’s most individual expression through letters, and the result is almost asemic as they often drift away from legible letterforms.

The intention is not to digitalize your handwriting or signature 1:1, but to analyse its qualities & details and transform those into distinctive design concepts, studying the balance between asemic and semic, primal and subsequent.

Motto: “Cherish your quirky details & design flaws — avoiding making mistakes in order to preserve your image makes you extremely boring”.

26-30 June 2023 (at Elisava, La Rambla 30-32, Barcelona, Spain)

Who can apply
Graphic & Type Designers who want to expand their sandbox.

The objective is to discuss, learn & try methods to achieve personal & distinctive touches to type design. Once you gain guts to touch the letters in your own style, your work will never be the same. As a side product you make your graphic design interesting for yourself.

Sami Kortemäki is one of the founders of Underware. Left handed lettering artist, script face specialist and uncompromising craftsman. Strength: curves. Weakness: straight lines. Beard: long, red brown.

Register now
Register before 01 June at Elisava.
(20% discount until 30 April 2023)

24 august 2022 — walhalla
BuitenBios 2022

Stencils are still one of our favourite techniques, as they provide a quick-and-dirty way to produce visuals. Next to that, they also guarantee a nice balance between full control and manual irregularity. For this year’s BuitenBios edition, the one and only open-air cinema on the rooftop of our Amsterdam studio building, we created all posters by hand (😅) with a stencil.


12 may 2022 — walhalla
Read Naked raffle

This week it has been 20 years since the typeface Sauna was released with the Secret Sauna Party in Berlin. It was the first opportunity to test the book Read Naked inside a hot sauna, because some parts of the book only become visible at 80° Celsius or higher. We made this publication together with Dutch designer Piet Schreuders, and the production – printing on Neobond paper (the Rolls Royce of papers), binding without using glue – guaranteed the publication would survive a serious sauna visit. Drying instructions to get the book back into the bookshelf are included on page 1.


19 january 2022 — walhalla
Manicule specimen raffle

A special edition for a special occasion! Our manicule specimen is printed on leftovers of the printing shop. Therefore 6 different editions exists: different paper, different color. So in a way every edition is a special edition. However, there is also a special special edition. There is a 7th version of this publication, not distributed at all, with an incredible mirroring golden cover. Our manicule specimen is not for sale, but we’re giving a way 10 copies of this triple-X special special edition in the one and only Manicule Specimen Raffle. You can win, win, win!

Win a free copy!
Participation is easy. In case you’re interested to win a copy of this manicule specimen (100% for free), just send an email before 31 January 2022 to raffle@underware.nl with your postal address, saying “I Want It That Way!” (Incomplete or missing postal addresses are invalid submissions). We’ll randomly pick 10 addresses and send the winners a golden edition by post. This publication is not for sale, this is your only chance. Join now!

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

28 may 2021 — walhalla
Summer workshop BAM BAM BAM

Workshop introduction to type design

This 3-day workshop offers designers the opportunity to delve further into type design, while at the same time investigating the relationship between spoken and written language. How does sound relate to writing?

This workshop is aimed at young graphic designers who want to develop their typographic skills further by immersing themselves in the design and creation of their own typeface. In this 3-day workshop, in which sketches will be made alternately on paper and digitally, the basic principles of type design will be explained, and a digital font will eventually be made. But since letters can also be a visual representation of spoken language, during this process other possibilities to represent spoken language & sound on paper, beyond the existing conventions, will simultaneously be investigated.

Despite the fact that designing a font family usually takes several years, this entire process will be covered in a bird’s eye view during the workshop in just 3 days. Just BAM BAM BAM.

Skill level
Experience with drawing bezier outlines is desirable, for example in Illustrator or another comparable drawing program.

What do you need to bring?
• Laptop (preferably with OSX)
• Pencils, pens and markers
• Sketch paper
• Tape & scissors

€95,– for pros
€75,– for students

• Apply until 18 July 2021
• Workshop will be held in English
• Lunch is included
• Max 15 participants
• Participants will be selected based on motivation
• Location: Ingehousz Breda, the Netherlands

Applications can be made until the 27th of June at graphicmatters.nl

07 may 2021 — walhalla
Stad zoekt kunst

It started with a spontaneous action 3 weeks ago, a manifestation at the Museumplein in Amsterdam to break the absence of art in lockdown times. We helped out the organisation by casually writing personal ads on location, allowing participants to walk around with their own message in XXL size. One writing tool, one colour, no planning, no time to waste, 100% action, pure speed.



28 may 2020 — walhalla
Underware in motion

At Underware we often talk about stuff. And that stuff could be anything, it’s whatever we discuss at that moment. This is probably born out of our lack of mastery of the English language 20 years ago when we called almost everything stuff, but the word stuck in our conversations and became useful in some sense too. So let’s talk about stuff here.

In this case the stuff could be an identity, or a brand, a company, a group, an organisation or institution, or just a text. Lots of different stuff, basically anything which is graphically (re)presented. While representing this stuff, motion has become a default part of the characteristics of this stuff in digital media. Half a century ago designers had to consider the visual representation mainly only in static media. When a designer had created a poster/corporate identity/book/other media with a strong own identity, that stuff could have a successful life of its own. But in today’s world, this isn’t always the case anymore. There can be more to the stuff today. As anything can move in unstable media, it’s important to define how stuff moves. Your move is different than my move, in the same way as your dance is different than my dance, and your handwriting is different than mine.

20 may 2020 — walhalla
Buiten Bios

We’re over 2 months into the Corona crisis, and it’s still a different world than we used to know. But instead of noticing what’s currently not possible, why not focusing on what actually is possible at the moment? Yesterday it was announced that the Dutch regulations are going to being eased from the 1st of June on. So if you’re around Amsterdam: every Friday in June there is the Buiten Bios, an open-air cinema on the rooftop of our Amsterdam studio building. Starts at sunset, max 30 visitors. Be welcome at Tugela85. Tickets are on sale now: https://tugela85.nl/activiteiten/1084/t85-buitenbios

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