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Pilowlava (sic) was born as an intuitive, fast-paced creative feedback loop in which its creators tried to surprise one another. The result is a typeface that recalls cooled lava flows drawn with a compass. Striving to please both of its parents, Pilowlava seeks a balance between viscous energy and controlled geometry. This geometric approach lies on the shoulders of researches conducted by Swiss designer Armin Hofmann in his Graphic Design Manual edited in 1965. The structures of its glyphs are mostly derived from hand-written dynamics, that feed from both calligraphic and graffiti references. All these sweet inconsistencies produce a vacillating, fluctuating typographic colour, embodied by the almost-mathematical tension of its curves. Under a hardened crust, Pilowlava awaits the smallest temperature rise to recover its viscosity. The alternate shapes of certains letters play out these thermic accidents and raise the temperature of the text.

It takes its name from pillow lavas, a natural phenomenon that is produced when lava is expelled by an underwater volcano, or when the lava flows of an emerged volcano encounter a body of water. In contact with the water, the lava flow is so hot that it's coated in a glass film. As it isn't totally cooled down, it transforms into smooth pillows that continue to slowly grow. This way, lava creates tubes and viscous balls that pile up and shape one another, and then they aggregate in puffy clusters that can measure several meters.

Pilowlava is available at Velvetyne Type Foundry. It's cost-free and it can be freely used, modified and distributed for all of your burning needs.

A project made in collaboration with Anton Moglia.

Pilowlava got featured in Typographica's favourite typefaces of 2019. Read the article.

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