An independent type foundry from outer space

Tiponautas is an international type foundry with a focus on design, development, production, and marketing of original high-quality font families for the most creative and demanding Art Directors and Designers on Earth.

Since its foundation in 2010, Tiponautas has steadily grown from a group of friends in a Type Designers Collective to an established independent type foundry partnering with the most prestigious distributors in the industry. This new position required both an evaluation and a recalibration of their brand identity across very diverse web ecosystems, along with an effective and manageable digital strategy across all customer touchpoints.

The Origins: Friendship, Type Design, and Space Exploration

Tiponautas original founders Ricardo Santos (Portugal), Luis Alonso (Spain), and Charlie Zinno (Argentina) always believed in strong collaboration and experimentation through the inclusion of artistic and cultural elements into their type design work. Now that doesn’t sound that disruptive but in 2010 most of the independent type foundries had a very traditional approach to their work and how they promoted it.

The main goals of the group were to build a strong, distinguished brand and to showcase their typefaces in new, exciting ways in order to connect with the creative community that was going to use them. That approach brought Tiponautas to release one of the first video specimens with its original soundtrack for their first font release, Lab Sans Pro. Their founders traveled to collaborate together and some of them became usual suspects in the international design conference scene.

Type Design in Zero Gravity

Tiponautas needed a brand that was able to communicate their unique approach to type design and their new position in the type design industry.

The constant references to space exploration, electronic music, and futuristic technology had been part of Tiponautas’ DNA since its very beginning. Some of those familiar elements were rethought and finessed to articulate a modern, precise yet vibrant identity that can be applied consistently to printed posters, digital type specimens, websites, social media platforms, or email marketing campaigns.

Initial concepts for logotype and symbol.

A Digital Strategy Around the Customer Journey

Our research findings showed that the starting point for users and their level of familiarity with the brand were very different and were far from following a linear path. One of the main goals was to make sure that the brand was consistently articulated across every touchpoint regardless if there was a site owned by Tiponautas or a third-party platform.

We enabled a deeper connection with each customer by establishing a more personal tone of voice that helps drive discoverability in addition to publishing content regularly, and implementing a personalized email marketing program. Customers become real fans and are ready to put their spacesuits on to come aboard the Tiponautas rocket.

Letting Typography Shine

A comprehensive site architecture in combination with a simple User Interface allow users to easily find both general and technical information, while efffectively connecting them to marketing channels and distribution platforms. All of that, with contextual Type in use images that tie it all together and make the experience feel special.

A Precise yet Flexible Visual Language

The distinguishable brand elements bring consistency to the wide range of digital ecosystems where Tiponautas has presence, while leaving room for creative experimentation in some of the promotional pieces.

  • Lab Sans Pro in the movie posters of Ex Machina.

    Lab Sans Pro in the movie posters of Ex Machina.

  • Ex Machina on Netflix featuring Lab Sans Pro.

    Ex Machina on Netflix featuring Lab Sans Pro.

  • Tramuntana on Nylstar's Trendbook.

    Tramuntana on Nylstar's Trendbook.

  • Lab Sans Pro as the main typeface of St. Louis Design Week 2013.

    Lab Sans Pro as the main typeface of St. Louis Design Week 2013.

  • Lab Slab Pro featured in Typodiarium 2013.

    Lab Slab Pro featured in Typodiarium 2013.

  • Tramuntana in the Portuguese Wrong Wrong Magazine.

    Tramuntana in the Portuguese Wrong Wrong Magazine.

Nice Words from the Experts

The Beginning of a Legacy

Tiponautas has been widely recognized and featured in established design magazines such as the German Slanted Magazine and reference books such as Size-specific adjustments to type designs.

Their font collection has also been part of exhibitions such as Every letter tells a story, Typography design in Spain since 1990.

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