Technology, for all its virtues, has put a barrier between humans and what we make with our hands. For centuries, creating beautiful typography required chiseling tiny steel blocks—the very best type-makers could carve about two letters a day. Now, you can make a font just by clicking your mouse.
These clever letter-making stamps aren’t exactly chiseling steel, but they’re not just fiddling with software, either. Instamp is a set of alphabetical rubber stamps and ink pads from Japanese designer Yuzo Azu. Unlike the ones typically found in libraries and grade school art classrooms, they let you create an infinite number of custom typefaces just by adjusting the angle and pressure of your hand. Instead of giving each letter a flat face like you’d typically find on a stamp, flat faces found on stamps, Azu rendered each sans serif letterform as a slightly rounded, supple surface, making each responsive to even the slightest change in gesture. The project was among the winners of a design showcase organized by Lexus; sadly, there’s no word yet on if or when you’ll be able to buy the stamps.