TDCAkiem Helmling + Sami Kortemäki + Bas Jacobs, Underware
TDC Prize
Akiem Helmling + Sami Kortemäki + Bas Jacobs, Underware


Akiem Helmling + Sami Kortemäki + Bas Jacobs, Underware|Grammatography

“We’re very honoured that our innovation, Grammatography, got awarded with Tokyo TDC Prize for Type Design. This is very cool, because this work has been years in the making – and finally Grammato is a product which we can offer for other companies. We unveiled our long-developed service at the ATypI 2019 conference in Tokyo. This ground breaking innovation enables a text to write on demand – that is, while retaining its semantic content, a text writes itself with a smooth animation. We call this action ‘Grammatography’”, says Underware’s type designers Akiem Helmling, Bas Jacobs and Sami Kortemäki.

To achieve this, Underware developed their own interpolation technology which allows elegant curvature (Higher Order Interpolation, HOI), own animation production tools and couple of self-writing demo fonts with a large character set. Because grammatographic text is implemented as a font, the writing animation is infinitely smooth, scalable, applicable to all digital text and capable of replicating a variety of calligraphic blades, brushes and font styles. The technique can also mimic the expansion of ink on paper, the dynamic slowing and acceleration of writing in the curves, and the pauses in writing as the pen moves. In other words, Grammato combines the best of calligraphy and typography: living writing and the reproducibility of the text.

“At its simplest, Grammato can deliver an animated logo or a slogan. But because the technology is based on standards and supports Unicode, it can be used to build a large font family with extensive language support. And then incorporate these self-writing fonts into an application’s interface, such as social media messaging services, games, operating systems, tutorials, etc. Demo videos for these different ways can be found at”, Akiem, Bas and Sami explain with a lot of enthusiasm. “Thank you Tokyo Type Directors Club! And for others: please contact us and we’ll help to make your products write.”

Akiem Helmling + Sami Kortemäki + Bas Jacobs, Underware


Underware is a rock-hard type studio with a whole lot of feeling for real type. Stunning fonts, branding, custom type stuff, own freaky design tools, you name it. In business language this translates to ‘a multidisciplinary font foundry that creates ambitious type-based solutions from retail fonts and exclusive branding to high-end custom type and coding their own design tools’. In short this means they pretty much have a hold of the future of type design and want to share it with you. Sweating & rocking in their studios in Den Haag, Helsinki and Amsterdam. Founded by Akiem Helmling, Sami Kortemäki and Bas Jacobs in 1999. Find their fonts and publications at, lectures at, experiments at and grammatography at Twitter @underware, Instagram @underwarefoundry.