collaborative type foundry NM type has produced an experimental font design by studying the dance of south african choreographer andile vellem. ‘movement’ is comprised of 121-characters inspired by the motions of the human body, translated by shapes written in the air. the studio worked with vellem who came up with various movements to represent each letter, number, and symbol. 

'MOVEMENT' font captures the art of dance by tracing the human body

NM type worked with south african dancer andile vellem to realise the font
images courtesy of NM type



NM type‘s research led them to the work of hungarian theorist, choreographer and dancer rudolf laban, who studied the movement of the human body. he identified the characteristics of movement and described it by the inner intention of the dancer – direct and indirect. direct implies a direct movement with a single focus, whereas indirect implies movement with many foci. an example the studio uses is the difference between a punch and reaching something in a kitchen cupboard. the movement is nearly identical but is wildly different.

font design 'MOVEMENT' captures the art of dance by tracing the human body

concept sketches



the type family has four design extremes, representing different use of weight and space; direct black, direct thing, indirect black and indirect thin. direct represents quick and bound movement, and letters with straight lines. while indirect represents slow and flexible movement, and letters with curved shapes. the variable also includes and weight and curvature in between the extremes.

vellem came up with various movements to represent each letter, number, and symbol



NM type, which has created custom type faces for international brands like jägermeister, presented the experimental display typeface at this year’s design indaba. it was born as a collaboration between the type studio and the conference. any designer or type user can now download ‘movement’ from NM type’s website and use it for free.

the font was launched during design indaba 2019, a three-day conference bringing together the world’s leading creatives to share their work

NM type is a foundry based in sweden and spain, a collaboration between noel pretorius and maría ramos

font design 'MOVEMENT' captures the art of dance by tracing the human body

paragraphs in direct and indirect

font design 'MOVEMENT' captures the art of dance by tracing the human body

movement direct typesetting

font design 'MOVEMENT' captures the art of dance by tracing the human body

weight and space

font design 'MOVEMENT' captures the art of dance by tracing the human body

movement type face in all versions


project info


designers: NM type

project name: movement




design indaba

is a multifaceted platform committed to a better world through creativity. the south-african online publication hosts an annual festival and social impact do tank in cape town. the design indaba festival has been created by ravi naidoo in 1995, with focus on african and global creativity, through the lens of the work and ideas of leading thinkers and doers, opinion formers, trendsetters and industry experts.

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