We were looking at a photograph taken by Lucy Styles, a friend of ours who works for the Japanese architecture practice Sanaa. The subject was everyday – the exterior of Sanaa’s office block, with a 1970s white Alfa Romeo parked up front – but our eyes were drawn instantly to the numberplate. The form of the numbers on it looked so interesting, seeming to combine the fluidity of handwriting with the condensed precision of modernist grotesques. When we had the opportunity to visit Japan ourselves, the first couple of days were interrupted by taking more and more pictures of numberplates.
Using these as a starting point, we have now developed a full Latin-A extended family, included Medium and Bold weights, with a set of corresponding obliques. Tested in a series of accessibility workshops, the font has been used in the V&A exhibition ‘Cars’ (2019).