“Kinesis is a unique and lively typeface family designed by Mark Jamra. The truly kinetic nature of this design makes it as suitable for display settings as for longer blocks of energetic text. Balancing unconventional forms and expressive calligraphic lettering with legible text typeface characteristics, Kinesis offers a wide range of weights and a vigorous personality for book text and magazine ad copy, as well as larger formats such as bulletins, posters, and packaging.”
The paragraph above is Adobe’s marketing copy for Kinesis. It’s not bad – terse and concise – but of course there’s a lot more to the story than that.
I remember exactly when I created the first sketches for Kinesis – in January of 1990. They were forays into purely pen-written forms and the extra-rational decision-making that went into the creation of images of a completely personal and intuitive nature, of things that live and possess an “inner light.” By “extra-rational,” I mean the type of creating and decision-making that transcends rational thought. It happens when one has “chops,” has worked hard to perfect a skill and then enters “the zone” when working. One is no longer working according to a rational protocol. What happens is a result of training, experience and conceptual maturity, and occurs only after achieving a mastery of the technical and mechanical aspects of a given discipline – and having practiced it over time.
When I first began working on Kinesis, I was fascinated by the romans of Nicholas Jenson and Claude Garamond; the types of Oldřich Menhart and the delivery of Miles Davis, by the irrational and illogical moments in these things and how it was exactly these moments that made them exceptional and come alive.
When the first sketches of Kinesis hit paper, I was ready. I had created and produced type for many years and was in that “place” in which I could trust the extra-rational moment. And so I let it happen – trusting development, reading the signs along the way, making decisions when they had to be made and ultimately bringing Kinesis to a point where finally it found its own voice, gained its own personality and began telling me what to do and what it needed. It was truly an exciting experience and remains my favorite part of the type design process.