Krata is a Typeface that Bridges Design and Programming

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Krata, a striking new display typeface created by Remi Forte, combines the iterative nature of design and the minimalist logic of programming. Though tight parameters can stifle generative processes, Krata’s restrictions throw the possibilities for interpretation into relief.

At the heart of Krata’s creative restrictions is a Python program developed by Forte, that applies patterns of horizontal or vertical lines to characters using a grid frame. Inspired by Karl Gerstner’s Designing Programmes and Metafont by Donald Knuth, Forte’s approach sees glyph contours as “a flexible physical envelope placed over a framework.”

Krata is a variable display typeface with a weight axis that pushes against the dogma of type design. With styles ranging from Thin (barely a whisper) to Black (nearly solid forms), Krata empowers designers to play with legibility.

Rémi Forte is a French designer, typography instructor, and foundry manager for 205TF. The small foundry based in Lyon, France supports a small number of creators and high-quality typefaces. Forte is also an artist whose work explores the interplay between poetic writing, type design, and programming.

Forte’s design approach may come from his interest in conceptual literature and concrete poetry, both of which necessitate unique and often rule-breaking typefaces. Krata came out of one such exploration, and now, with its release, can be used an manipulated by designers in new and broader contexts.

On his 205TF foundry profile, Forte explains his process: “I make extensive use of programming, exploring the vast creative possibilities that technology offers, including the development of my own tools. I create protocols for writing and scripts for the automation of page layout, as well as generative typefaces. However, my work is always rooted in the history of my discipline, recognizing that others have already explored, in various ways, the questions that I am passionate about.”

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