Eike Dingler: Letters of Patterns

A fascinating journey into generative type design with Eike Dingler. Building letterforms by filling geometric shapes with geometric patterns.

TYPO-Berlin-14-05-23-Bettina-Ausserhofer-Monotyp6724Eike Dingler explaining his Pattern Project. @ Bettina Ausserhofer. (Monotype)

Eike Dingler presented his “Pattern Project”, an intriguing typeface system that combines geometric letterforms with patterns. Inspired by the complexity of medieval ornamented letterforms on the one hand, and geometric patterns from ceramic tiles on the other, Eike set out to create letterforms that display a “dizzying amount of detail”.

While acknowledging the endurance and concentration of the monks that created the ornamented letterforms he admires, Eike chose for a contemporary strategy to achieve his goals: generative design. Constructing his letterforms from simple geometric shapes, which are then filled with simple but fascinating patterns by an algorithm.

Eike DIngler

Eike Dingler

Graphic and display type designer (Berlin)

Eike Dingler studied type media in The Hague in 2007, where he began experimenting with programming for type design. While working on the projects of his own graphic design studio in Berlin, he began developing the Pattern Project. With the completion of the type family in 2014, he took the opportunity to found the Mauve Type foundry.

Type for “record sleeves, posters and vodka labels”

Using three different weights for the basic shapes, applying nine different patterns in three resolutions, a fairly large set of variations is obtained. The different resolutions can be used for different sizes.

Eike-web-SSS Pattern Font No. 9 in three resolutions, from mauvetype.com.

Eike explained that not all combinations work equally well, so some are discarded. The resulting set of fonts can be seen (and purchased) at mauvetype.com.

To illustrate his process, Eike talked about his journey into the world of programming. One experiment (shown as an animation) he called “Deconstructive swimming pool design machine”, and showed an almost psychedelic movement of grids.

Eike went into quite some detail about the technology involved in the“Pattern Project”. He uses the Python programming language, initially in the DrawBot application, later moving to scripting FontLab and eventually settling for RoboFont.


Realizing that people would want to create their own patterns, making the amount of possibilities virtually unlimited, Eike collaborated with a “real programmer” (Eike’s words) to create an iOS app which allows just that. The free “Pattern Type” app (for iPhone and iPad) enables the user to draw simple patterns, which will then be applied to the letterforms. You can play with the letterforms in the app itself, but you can also download an OpenType font of your creation for a modest licensing fee.

Custom pattern drawing interface in the Pattern Type iOS app.

Previewing a custom pattern on a letter of choice.

Closing off the talk, Eike showed a series of posters he designed using the“Pattern Project” typefaces, using a subtle style and aesthetic that allowed the ornamented letters to shine.