Antwerpen based visual artist Alexandra Crouwers asked me to create a custom typeface based on the tunnels and cavities a barkbeetle ( Ips Typographus or ‘letterzetter’ in Dutch) creates in dead tree bark. She asked for exactly 26% readability and that’s what I tried to achieve.
This is what she wrote about her project:
“In the early 1960s, my grandfather acquired a piece of land, filled with young Norway spruces. The trees were left alone for decades and grew tall, transforming the land into a small family forest, which my mother inherited. In September 2019, all trees had died, and the forest had to be cleared. It became The Plot, a gateway for ecological grief.
The preceding springs and summers came with extreme drought, while unusually mild winters saw barely any frost. The prolonged drought weakened the trees, and the warm winters caused an unstoppable infestation of spruce bark beetles. The beetle lays its eggs in tree bark. Its larvae eat their way out, leaving intricate tunnel patterns that resemble alien alphabets or hieroglyphs, hence its name: Ips typographus in Latin, or Letterzetter in Dutch, which translates back into English as compositor.”
You can check out her other work on www.alexandracrouwers.com