New font builds on the IBM story
“We thought long and hard about what our enduring themes are at IBM,” Abbink continues. “And what we came up with was man and machine. In everything we’ve made since the 1920s, we’ve worked to put technology and humanity together. So that was one theme.”
“Second, there’s IBM’s long history of typeface development, beginning with the IBM Selectric typewriter.”
The IBM Selectric heralded a new age of communication, with an interchangeable font — “the golfball.” Introduced in 1961, Abbink says “this typewriter allowed writers for the first time to change typefaces based on content, mood, personality or subject. You could express yourself with the font you chose to use.”
IBM was responsible for designing or commissioning a multitude of fonts for the Selectric, including Courier, which has gone on to become a favorite of developers and is used as a standard for screenwriters.
“The final theme that came into play was the IBM logo, one of the most widely recognized three-letter corporate logotypes in the world. It carries a distinct, unique nature that is very IBM.” First developed by Paul Rand as three solid letters in 1956 it was modified into the classic 8-bar in 1972.
“The shapes are extremely distinctive, with a unique nature to them,” says Abbink. “Even if you just saw the B alone, you would likely recognize it as the B from the IBM logo.’ We thought, ‘If the eight-bar logo spawned a typeface, what would that look like?’”