Monotype proudly presents WordPlay

Taking place as part of London’s Clerkenwell Design Week, WordPlay is an outdoor exhibition bringing type to life and celebrating its influence on our world.

Our exhibitors experiment with wood, vinyl, glass, metal, concrete, paint and light to give physical form to seven lively verbs set in Monotype typefaces. The results will be installed at various locations in Clerkenwell; suspended from trees, stacked on pavements, fixed to walls and crafted into furniture.

Exhibition map



Passing Alley (7)

  • Material: Eco chalk and acrylic paint
  • Supplier: Media Gang
  • Font: Clarendon®
  • Designer: Manou Bendon and Jan Mohammed

Experiential marketers Media Gang worked with Monotype to select Clarendon, a simple and fuss-free font that would work well anamorphically and has nineteenth century origins local to Clerkenwell. “The word explore just begged for a site that would break up the way the alley invites you down to see what’s at the other end,” the designers enthuse. “So we created an anamorphic image, which is made from a distorted perspective that can only be reconstituted from its focal point.” The design was sketched out in chalk initially, before being completed using spray-paint.

Explore Explore


St Johns Garden (1)

  • Material: Mirrored glass
  • Supplier: 3A
  • Font: Quire Sans™, Avant Garde®, Monotype Modern™, Monotype Grotesque®, Cachet™, Rockwell®
  • Designer: Sally Hogarth

Working with various Monotype fonts and a mirror made from aluminium composite, designer Sally Hogarth has created a contemplation-provoking installation in the form of a reflective pyramid. “The idea of working with mirror has always fascinated me,” she says. “I wanted to reimagine the mirror and how we interact with it.” Having three mirrored sides, the installation rewards multiple viewing. Sally’s design adds a further attraction to an area of Clerkenwell where locals come to relax.

See See


Brewhouse Yard (5)

  • Material: Fibre cement
  • Supplier: Equitone
  • Font: Gill Sans®
  • Designer: Sally Hogarth and Monotype

This installation began with the idea of rewarding a viewer’s attention by hiding a word within a pattern. The elegance of Gill Sans lent itself perfectly to the creation of abstract lines and shapes. Designs can either be etched onto the surface of Equitone’s fibre cement, or cut directly into it. Both techniques are used here, with the etched parts creating the letters, whilst those cut out expose the word discover. For those visiting at noon, the installation will also reveal a time-specific surprise.

Discover Discover


Clerkenwell Road (2)

  • Material: Metal
  • Supplier: RMIG
  • Font: ITC Johnston™
  • Designer: Clerkenwell Design Week and Monotype

RMIG usually create decorative building façades. The company jumped at the chance to be able to work on something more design-led. Each sheet of 1m x 1m metal used in the installation (there are 10 in total) was cut to size and perforated by machine. The perforated holes reference the print process, where images are created by dots of ink. The installation sits on a bridge on Clerkenwell Road that crosses over a busy Tube line. Fitting, then, that it is made using Edward Johnston’s iconic ITC Johnston typeface, which has been in use on London Underground maps for almost a century.

Experience Experience


Clerkenwell Road (6)

  • Material: Wood
  • Supplier: AHEC
  • Font: Neue Haas Unica™
  • Designer: Sebastian Cox

Craftsman Sebastian Cox and his team have transformed Unica’s simple sans serif letterforms into a bench. The letters are constructed from American curly maple, a stunning wood that has a velvety shimmer, whilst the top is made of thermally modified tulipwood, baked at 180°C, which gives it a dark coffee colour and aroma that contrasts well with the white of the curly maple. “We’ve cut our own 5mm veneers for the front and back, to limit any ‘grain conflict’,” Sebastian explains. “This makes the whole thing stable and sturdy, like a chest of drawers.”

Enjoy Enjoy


Jerusalem Passage (4)

  • Material: Light
  • Supplier: Applelec
  • Font: Glaser Stencil™
  • Designer: Applelec and Monotype

Applelec is a flat sheet of plastic embedded with lights. The piece used for this installation is 2.7m wide and contains 256 LED light modules. “Creating something bespoke isn’t unusual for us, but does require craftsmanship and a lot of thought,” says a spokesperson for the company. “We like the idea that we’ve used materials from different eras to create a piece that transcends time.” The shapes and openness of Glaser Stencil against the brickwork behind the installation make for a nice contrast between materials, with the LED light bringing out the reflections on the metal and the red glow of Victorian-era brick.

Inspire Inspire


House of Detention, Sans Walk (3)

  • Material: Vinyl
  • Supplier: Surface View
  • Font: Festival™ Titling
  • Designer: Surface View and Monotype

The font used here, designed by Phillip Boydell, was cut by Monotype in 1950 as the official display face for the Festival of Britain. Imaging specialists Surface View have worked with the Museum of London to identify a modest collection of eclectic historic artworks, which the company has remastered and retouched. For Clerkenwell Design Week they applied a selection of these as vinyl film to a brick wall, with the vinyl fixed in place using heat guns. The images used include a panoramic nineteenth century view of London, and Sidney Paget’s Sherlock Holmes illustrations, created for the The Strand Magazine.

Celebrate Celebrate
Clerkenwell Design Week
3A Composites
Media Gang
Surface View