Sawdust Throws Numbers Into the Future for Wired UK
Our world is changing faster than most of us can keep track of. Technology is developing at a hyperbolic rate, and anyone who can’t keep up is being relegated to the past. With the expectation of incredible evolutionary speed, so too comes a social shift as we want our world to move ever faster around us. Every moment is poised to be the next springboard into another unnamed era. For Wired UK’s The Wired World in 2016 issue the magazine needed to count down their anticipated future trends, so they went to creative studio Sawdust to help them visualize a completely new way of looking at numerals. Our number system is almost three thousand years old, but Sawdust needed to anticipate the future. “Our aesthetic choices were geared towards creating something that was unimagined, new, different, futuristic, innovative, even a little strange,” explains Rob Gonzalez, cofounder of Sawdust with Jonathan Quainton. “…Anything that would make people turn their head sideways or think about something differently.” They dove into a world that’s totally different from us, drinking deep from pop culture influences.
“Films are a big inspiration,” says Jonathan. “The combination of great cinematography with storytelling is difficult to beat. Design is similar in many ways: it’s about telling a story, often through limited imagery and words. I always love seeing the props people dream-up for sci-fi films set in the future, à la Back to the Future 2… Hover boards, flying cars… brilliant.” Combining the aesthetics of chrome and plastics into futuristic constructs draws the inspiration into legibility recognizable numbers that are of a totally different world.
When they were creating the designs, Jonathan and team didn’t have to worry about making a typeface in the traditional sense. They weren’t tethered by the obligation of making them all fit together into cohesive groupings and developing visually on a single line. The numbers were going to stand alone, and always be alone. That changed how they created them. “This immediately freed us up, because we didn’t have to worry about the relationship one number had to the other,” Rob says. “We still wanted them to feel like they were from the same world, so there were considerations about how we could achieve that. Once our aesthetic took shape, we followed our own system that allowed us to build the other numbers in a clear and coherent way. Same color, similar distribution of chrome to white, similar negative space and positive, and similar structural elements.” Blending the intimately known with the unknown creates a fresh experience that we can all benefit from.