Programmed Calligraphy

Developed between 2008 and 2013 by the Swiss design studio Maximage, Programme is an innovative typeface which is based both on calligraphy and computer programming. With the help of scripting technology, the typeface was developed in two different versions: a more sophisticated and a rougher angular cut. 


The Programme project began in 2008 from the naive idea that a font’s ‘DNA’ was entirely contained in the calligraphic letters ‘o’ and ‘n,’ and that from these two glyphs, a program could build the full Latin alphabet, since a typeface is actually made out of a limited set of shapes that are repeated in all of its characters. 

This program for creating typographic characters was subsequently developed and completed as a student project. As it stands, the tool was designed for experimental purposes and as such has almost no interface. The sketches of Programme started with this tool, and a first version of the type was turnd into a woodtype alphabet.


From 2009 to 2013 the typeface was optimized for both text and display needs. The family is now available in four weights, including italics and extra rotated versions. 

In some cases the imperfections of the program have not been retouched to keep the type’s original essence. That is why Programme exists in two alternative styles : a rougher and a more refined version. Through OpenType features, the user can alternate between those styles by activating the Stylistic Sets in groups or individually.

As an additional cut, Programme Primitiv is the ‘original’ version generated by the script – without any retouching and grading – this archetype perfectly meets display requirements as its simple and brutal sharpness add to the visual experience.


The first version of Programme was shown in the book Typeface as Program (JRP|Ringier, 2009). The book summarizes a series of projects related to programming and type design which took place at the University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL).


Type in Use