Meet Mr. Frank,
A new, living typeface that reacts to his environment and the people around him.
Fonts are utilized as vehicles for communication and expression. They work hard to transfer messages from the sender to the receiver. But what if fonts had their own emotions? What if the job of messenger exhausted them, inspired them, challenged them, and gave them anxiety just like rest of us?
Mr. Frank has a lot of feelings.
When he's in his quiet place, Mr. Frank is calm. He spends time kerning himself, and adjusting his baselines. However, if he spends too much time alone, Mr. Frank eventually becomes depressed. When working his day-job as signage, he gets dressed up in his finest and directs people through space providing the public with vital information. He is generally pretty good at his job but in especially busy times, Mr. Frank's nerves can get the better of him and his stage fright starts to overwhelm him. His emotions are relentless and ever-changing. But he's trying his best.
The Many Faces of Mr. Frank:
Mr. Frank is made up of 500 characters representing a wide range of emotions from indifferent to nervous and excited. The characters represent different states in the animation of the letters when they are used in display.
A look under the hood at the Max/MSP/OSC system powering Frank’s nervous tendencies.
Mr. Frank’s states are triggered by sound. Microphone feeds warn him when noise levels are high. This agitates Mr. Frank. If a sudden sound occurs, he jumps and breathes heavily. When the audio input lowers once more, Mr. Frank calms down and returns to a resting state.
Mr. Frank was also hooked up to a iPad where viewers could give him feedback. If they said that he was doing a bad job of directing, he would become insecure. If he received positive feedback, Mr. Frank would regain confidence.
For the exhibition Typeforce, Reamue and Pryce installed Mr. Frank to interact with small microphones that were set up throughout the gallery. He proudly directed people to the restrooms and bar, while also requesting that the audience view the art in the gallery quietly and respectfully. As the gallery became busier, Mr. Frank became more agitated. If a sudden sound occurred, he would jump and breathe heavily. His insecurity also confused his language and phrases like "view quietly" became, "judge quietly".