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Neon Experimental Type

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Design Brief
Neon is an experimental type designed to hide information instead of showing information. Various design decisions are made to make individual glyphs as hard to pick up as possible.

Vertical Type
Neon writes vertically, from top to bottom and from right to left like some scripts in the far east. The experiment from the type Hotel shows that reading vertical latin types are inherently very difficult, so it can be a great opportunity to hide information.

Unfamiliar Letterforms
The letterforms of Neon may feel like rotated forms of condensed sans-serifs, but they are far from that. Many letters look quite far from their stereotypical images in our minds while still following certain rules to define what they are. Instinctively, the weird letterforms would cause a lot of confusions for readers when reading them, especially for some of the upper-case letters that only bare loose resemblances with their traditional letters such as B, F, G, H, M, and N.

Unique Textures
The lack of legibility of the type also comes from its uniform texture. Every glyph in the alphabet is composed of only horizontal bars (horizontal stems) and vertical half-circle connectors (vertical hairlines). Without any optical corrections of glyph heights against each other, an entire paragraph set in Neon would have a very uniform texture that really hide individual glyphs in it, making people very hard to pick each one of them out. Also, the simplicity of the glyphs means the lack of individuality. Many of the glyphs are simply mirrors of each other such as b, d, q, p; a, g; E, B, C, D etc.

Pragmatic Tweaks
The new letterforms bring new challenges and limitations, and the most obvious ones are kernings. Because the letters are supposed to set vertically, some of the traditional kernings do not need to be addressed anymore but some new combinations would need special trackings. Letters such as P and Q would perform similarly as traditional T that needs kernings with other lower-case letters.

Meanwhile, some of the letter combinations that form a giant void in between such as n u, h u would need special cares to open up the points their hairlines meet, or the combinations would feel they have more visual stress than they should be which would break the uniform texture of the reading material.
neon-waterfall
neon-waterfall
neon-waterfall
neon-specimen
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neon-pragmatic-issues

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