Honda Urban EV and Modular Typefaces

I love concepts cars and modular type, so Honda’s Urban EV is right up my alley. 

I grew up going to the Chicago Auto Show and love to see a fun concept car. And the Urban EV is definitely fun. I think it’s interesting to see how car companies are designing electric vehicles, when most of the design constraints from traditional cars — engines, transmissions, gas tanks, etc. — are completely eliminated.

But the thing that really grabbed my attention was the screen and typeface that Honda used on the outside of the car. It includes the name of the car and other details like the charging status. The typeface Honda created for the Urban EV reminds me of an experimental design I created in 2009, Micro 205, but with dots instead of squares.

I took Micro 205 and the Urban EV as a starting point and created an all new typeface on Fontstruct. SbB Drivetrain 209 uses two dots of different sizes to create the alphabet. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. 


A note about the "209" in the name of SbB Drivetrain 209. When I created Micro 205, I had this idea that I would add numbers to all my Fontstruct designs. Each number would combine the number of block styles used with the cap height in blocks, separated by a zero. Micro used 2 blocks and was 5 blocks high, so it became Micro 205. Another example... SbB Codebreaker with 1 block style and a cap height of 43 blocks would be SbB Codebreaker 1043. I never used the numbering convention after Micro 205, but figured it would be fun to dust off for Drivetrain since Micro 205 was part of the inspiration.

You can download SbB Drivetrain 209 from Fontstruct for free.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. He's currently in the middle of a project to design a new shirt a week for an entire year. Follow Bob on TwitterInstagram and Micro.Blog.