Basic Font Information
Univers Else is an experiment, a first attempt to escape the post ’80 era of geometrical purity that is so typical of Postscript vector based font drawing. The shapes of Univers Else were obtained from scanning printed textpages that were optically composed by cheap phototypesetting machines in the sixties and seventies. Some of Univers Else beautiful features are: round angles, floating baselines, erratic kerning.
More precisely in this case, George Maciunas of the Fluxus group used an IBM composer (probably a Selectric typewriter) for most of his own work, and as a former designer, for all Fluxus work. In the 1988 book ‘Fluxus Codex’, kindly given to Pierre Huyghebaert by Sylvie Eyberg, the body text is typeset in a charmingly rounded and dancing Univers that seems to smile playfully at its dry swiss creator. As if it was really tempted, trying to provide a beautiful warm up to this old modernist classical. Along with a free, open and libre version!
A book about contemporary architecture in Wallonia and Brussels provided an ass-kicking opportunity. Three weights were needed. We were not sure that we’ll have the time to finish the fonts in time before having to send the pdf file to the printer. So we laid out the publication with the standard Univers family, and replaced it at the last moment with our version. Suddenly, the 286 pages book jumped out of the ice!
Different scans were assembled by Grégoire Vigneron following different grids. These huge bitmaps were processed with appropriate potrace settings by the Fonzie software* through a .ufo font format as a working format, and an OpenType as output. Some testing and fine-tuning was done by Pierre Marchand, Delphine Platteeuw and Pierre Huyghebaert in FontForge and the font was ready, in a finished state enough to typeset the book. The oblique versions was simply slanted on the fly.