Ebb and Flow Quo

This typeface was created for DesignInquiry in 2015 by Steve Bowden, Neil Patel and Peter Evonuk. The adjacent specimen is responding to live tidal data from a NOAA buoy near Vinalhaven island. Over the course of the day, the forms will interpolate as the water level rises and falls.

In response to the theme of No-Quo, we decided to repeatedly fold the process in on itself in search of collective expression, spectacle, first-hand experience in the name of highly calculated yet unknowable outcomes. The plan was to make a responsive web font. The approch was to invent a system where the collective moment would generate the form, we translate that back on to the screen and the weather would take care of the rest.

To see the typeface respond live please visit. LowTide Live

The Process

Casting the Masters

The type was laser cut into plywood and made into a silicone mold. Multiple plaster masters were created for ease of carving.


Topographic Typography

Inspired by their surroundings and the tide and topography around them, participants were given one hour  to carve away at the plaster letters.



The pile of carved plaster forms were then sand cast into bronze artifacts that were subsequently chemically patinated to black.


Capturing the Tide

The topography of the artifacts were then imaged back at the studio in a bath of milk.


Made Digital

Contours were digitized and turned into three fonts represented low, mid and high tide. The final implementation interpolates between these poles.



Here are a few outlying shenanigans that we could not help but share.