Typography Museum VR is a project made by Simone Amico (me), Tommaso Massari, Caroline Schwarm and Emma Cowley for the CS491 Creative Coding course at the University of Illinois at Chicago that aims to create a new and interactive way to experience typography. It is developed for the CAVE2.
The project is composed of four different environments: the museum (the main environment) and 3 different sub-worlds. Each sub-world is related to a specific typeface and it’s a way to immerse the user into it.
The museum is a walk through to 8 main steps of the history of typography, from the beginning, identified by the Blackletter typeface that Gutenberg used in his printed manuscripts, to Roman Type, Italics, Bodoni, Sans Serif, Futura, Helvetica, and finally to the digital era, ages in which computers allow anyone to express his or her creativity and create their own typeface.
The collaboration between designers and computer scientists was essential to this project. Caroline and Emma provided research on typography and its importance in the design world. Simone and Tommaso were able to bring these ideas to fruition so that our users could experience the world of typography in a format other than 2D or even standard 3D.
The first sub-world is called “Outer Space”. We took the idea of this theme from the Futura typeface. Inside the world the user will be surrounded by stars represented by asteriks and can move on a platform on which there are letters and symbols, all in Futura. This subworld possesses a grayscale color theme, focusing on clean whites, grays and blacks comparable to outer space. Through a portal identified by the inside of the letter “O”, the user can return back to the Museum and continue his journey.
The second sub-world is “The City” and the main theme is the Helvetica typeface. Helvetica is one of the clearest typefaces and one of its main uses is for street and subway signs. The user can walk on a street inside a city where the buildings are made of Helvetica letterforms. The color scheme of this sub-world is grays and browns. Through a portal, a Helvetica “O”, the user can return back to the Museum.
The final world is the “Volcano”, expression of the freedom that current technology provides to anyone. We used as an example the “Lava-Lava” font and created the Volcano sub-world. The user finds him or herself inside a volcano mouth and they can fly inside it with a lava and steam effect. Inside, there is another smaller volcano the user can interact with. It will erupt letters in the Lava Lava font, with an explosion and particle system effect.