Maschine Mk3 Dinamo is a collaboration between Native Instruments (NI), a leading manufacturer of software and hardware for audio production and DJing, and the Dinamo type foundry. This special edition of NI’s Maschine is limited to 750 pieces worldwide. Dinamo’s Whyte Inktrap is used for every detail of the controller.
From NI’s blog:
Type has always been important here at NI. “We’re not big fans of icons,” explains Johannes Schroth, the hardware designer behind our side of the MASCHINE Mk3 Dinamo collaboration. “I’m not sure it was a conscious decision, but we’ve always tended towards descriptive typography, even when mocking something up.”
For Schroth, type is one of several “dark arts” at the core of the NI product experience. It serves a clear signposting function, of course, helping music makers to understand how they might interact with a particular tool, but it also contributes to that tool’s character. “There’s a subconscious element,” he explains. “You can’t necessarily point your finger at it, but it affects your perception all the same.”
“The Maschine has a lot of labelled functions and a lot of different buttons,” he continues. ”That’s a lot of typography. And for me, it’s always interesting to focus in on the little details, so I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to really put the emphasis on that typography for a change?’”
Enter Johannes Breyer, Swiss co-founder of Berlin/Basel type foundry Dinamo.”We met at a dinner,” he says of his NI namesake. “I think that was like six, seven, eight years ago – a long time in Berlin. We were just starting to come across each other’s work a little bit at that point. That coincided with the moment my partner and I were starting to work on fonts, actually.”
Schroth reached out to Breyer, and the two began looking at ways in which type could be brought to the forefront of the MASCHINE experience. “We already had a kind of sub label that we call Dinamo Hardware, which is like T-shirts, key chains, etc – tangible objects.” explains Breyer. “And so we’ve always been interested in making something physical. I didn’t know that Johannes was working on a Maschine or anything like that, so I was blown away when I visited him and saw the technology.” […]
The typeface uses the idea of ink traps – little engravings in the inside corners of letters that mitigate ‘bleed’ issues with early printing technology; they collect ink in such a way that characters remain readable when printed in small sizes. “Today, with high-res screens and modern printing, you don’t need ink traps – everything is super sharp. So we wanted to look again at ink traps through the lens of modern technology.
Dinamo produces what are known as variable fonts. They don’t arrive as a fixed number of different weights and styles, but rather as a design space that allows various parameters to be modulated via the included software (something that ought to sound familiar to music producers) – this process then outputs the familiar static files that can then be used elsewhere. Designers can, for example, morph between having no ink traps at all and having huge ink traps that dominate the look of the glyphs at any size. And on close inspection, it’s clear that this adaptability is put to good use on the MASCHINE DINAMO – from the huge, squared-off M shape that sandwiches the hardware, to the ‘ticker tape’ running around its edge and the tiny labels on each button and pad. There are even a few special glyphs that highlight some of the hidden gems in the extensive character set. The Korean brackets on the Swing and Tempo buttons are a good example, and even MASCHINE’s standard left and right arrows have been replaced with distinctively ink-trapped equivalents.
“What I find so interesting,” Schroth says, “is that something that was designed to minimize ink bleed in a traditional printing press can also help minimize light bleed in a modern application. The function labels on Maschine’s buttons are lasered in, and the backlight shines through to make them readable. The ink traps actually serve to make those labels appear better defined than they otherwise would.” […]
Read the whole text by Sam Taylor in NI’s blog post from June 18, 2021.
- Object/Product (723)
- hardware (26)
- technology (79)
- user interfaces (UI design) (165)
- buttons (UI) (71)
- one typeface family (1134)
- ink traps (42)
- uses by the typeface’s designer (739)
- collaborations (27)
- audio equipment (46)
- Native Instruments (1)
- variable fonts (71)
- type fit to shape (86)
- control panels (24)
- type on a circle (533)
- all caps (4217)
- limited editions (262)