We were asked by London’s Commission studio to create a bespoke typeface to accompany its new visual identity for the luxury luggage brand RIMOWA. The Cologne-based manufacturer is known for its iconic aluminium suitcases, which have long featured distinctive parallel-running grooves on their exterior surfaces.
As Commission’s creative director Christopher Moorby says of the project: “We wanted to create an identity that could be integrated into the product seamlessly. If every detail on the case is incredibly considered, every facet of the branding should be as well.” Drawing from this sentiment, our font design straddles the mechanical and contemporary, featuring historically grounded elements that reflect RIMOWA’s over 120-years of production.
“We knew from the outset we wanted it to be based on the workhorse grotesques that originated around the same time as the company in Germany," adds Christopher. “This felt like a very natural fit conceptually, but also aesthetically: Engineered, neutral, modernist.”
During the research phase, we therefore looked to these early examples of the genre—ancestors such as Record Gothic, Venus, and Monotype Grotesque. We sought references with a certain warm and idiosyncratic atmosphere that’s absent in overly streamlined designs, in order to create a typeface that fuses both industrial and humanistic touches and strikes a balance, as Christopher, says “between unique character and workaday usefulness.”
While designing the font, a number of the characters took further inspiration from the curves of RIMOWA’s classic suitcase, gesturing to their own mechanized production process. These strong and defining structural elements pair neatly with the open strokes and angular cuts of the other characters, carrying traces of an industrialized past while still feeling distinctively personable. As Christopher says: “The ambition was always to create something that spoke the same language as the product itself.”
Design: Dinamo (Johannes Breyer & Fabian Harb, with Robert Janes)
Lead Agency: Commission Studio, London
Creative Direction: Christopher Moorby
Project Management: Alice Letman
Design: Tom Mussak
CEO: Alexandre Arnault
Project Coordination: Daria Jacobs, Gaelle Appelmans
Legal: Ralf Juck