Chris May


  • Rove


Unknown to much of the design world, Chicago has quite a typographic history. From the mighty Oswald (Oz) Bruce Cooper to digital type foundries such as T26 and Thirst, Chicago has always been at the forefront of type design. To continue this tradition of experimental and progressive principles, it’s vital to come together as a community and share ideas. It’s an honor to be a part of such a talented and diverse design community. I also feel it’s my responsibility as a designer to contribute in any way possible. It’s important to me and it’s important for the city of Chicago to have a strong and vibrant design scene.

Visually, this project is about texture and refinement. Conceptually, it’s about graphic languages or visual systems. I’m interested in creating a family/system of symbols that are entirely unfamiliar to the audience. Upon first viewing the forms, the experience is similar to viewing an unknown language. Individually, each letter creates a single compo­sition but when viewed as a group, it becomes clear that they visually belong to the same family.

Each form is an exercise in contrast. It brings together the random chaos of the fabric with the rigid conformity of a simple geometric shape. Even the chaotic shapes and shadows of the fabric are subdued when put into this context. They are seen as a single shape but give the letter dimension and a sensual texture.

To digitally create the typeface, I photographed a 3 yard piece of jersey stretch fabric in various arrangements. I then paired these photos with a very rigid system of geometric vector shapes.


Prior to founding Program Studio, I worked for several design studios including Fluid Design in the uk and more recently, Segura Inc. in Chicago. My experience with these small, progressive studios has given me the opportunity to work with open minded clients and individuals who encouraged experimentation. I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to be recognized in Print, how, and Grafik magazines, and have contributed to numerous other publications. In addition, I have received awards from the New York and Tokyo Type Directors Club and have been awarded a Red Dot.


mdf & Jersey stretch fabric