TDCMichael Kelly
Grand Prize
Michael Kelly


Michael Kelly|VR
Michael Kelly|VR
Michael Kelly|VR

VR (Type Design)

This typeface is a marriage in style between ancient written languages carved onto stone or clay tablets, and futuristic computer terminals and circuit boards.
It was designed for the headings on my BA dissertation, and eventually became a whole typeface as an extra project at University.
The typeface was intended to convey the thoughts behind my dissertation, which argued that since the stone age, humanity has been gradually shaping the world, and abstracting reality into virtual units, like minutes, centimetres, and dollars, and building a world for ourselves upon layers of these abstractions.
Now, we live in synthetic environments called cities, eat synthetic food, and subscribe to synthetic ideas like money, nations, and political ideologies ̶“virtual realities” , that aren’ t physical things.
Because we exist in a world in which everyone lives in accordance with these “virtual realities” , the things we make as designers are biased toward maintaining and expanding on this ‘virtual reality’ world we live in, removing us further away from what is real and objective, and into a world of imagined stories.
The visual style of the typeface references my comparison of the these imagined stories to a virtual reality environment in a computer, in which every aspect of existence is programmed and illusory. In V.R., you have no sense of the world outside, and your freedom is limited to what is allowed by the computer code. There is a link between the ancient beliefs that words, inscribed on stone, had a ‘god-like’ power to change reality, and the fact that a designer can change reality in software by simply stating the right words in a terminal. For me, this has a similar, all powerful ‘god-like’ quality.
Some key pieces of conceptual inspiration were the ideas of philosophers Alan Watts, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Paul Sartre, the films HyperNormalisation by Adam Curtis and Koyaanisqatsi by Godfrey Reggio, and the book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.

Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly (UK)

Michael Kelly has just graduated from BA Graphic Communication at Norwich University of the Arts, focussing on experimental typography, motion design and low-fi interactive installations. Michael aims to have a practise that spans the fields of Graphic Design and conceptual art, and explores themes of philosophy, and social and technological systems in his personal projects.
In April 2018, he co-founded escCollective, a group of young creatives based in Norwich, England. He is currently working collaboratively on the creation of a foundry for experimental type, and on other Graphic and Artistic projects.
Just starting his career in the creative world, Michael is open to internships and job opportunities working with clients in the cultural sector.