The bacterium typeface was commissioned by Alexander Isley for the 2014 TEDMED conference. Bacterium made a wide range of branded materials feasible, and was used throughout the conference—everywhere from signage to posters to the screen on the main stage. The letters in the typeface not only look like amoebas, they also change shape like amoebas.
Bacterium automatically substitutes characters to achieve its organic, malleable look. Multiple versions of each character are swapped in and out as the user types with the font. A custom tool, written in Python, outputs the OpenType substitution code that makes this possible. The typeface pushes against the limits of expected letter construction in order to achieve the necessary variety of shapes.