Great ideas can strike like a lightning bolt, sharp and distinct in a quick moment of clarity. Or, if you’re Ruslan Khasanov, inspiration can slowly emerge over the course of an evening spent in a vision-impaired haze. “I was walking one night without my glasses and everything was blurry for me,” he tells Co.Design. “I looked at the car headlights—red and yellow circles floating on the wet road—and I found it beautiful.” The effect was memorable enough that the Russian designer began experimenting with how to re-create and manipulate it, and the result is the ethereal Lumen Type.
Khasanov is no stranger to innovative adventures in typography: He’s previously created ephemeral alphabets out of dissolving liquid and running ink, and earlier this year he photographed a dusty mirror for a dappled look similar to the one he was after in this most recent effort.
He did trials after hours in the dark, using a syringe to leave small drops of water on a mirror’s surface in the shape of tiny letters, then directing a flashlight on the forms from different angles and distances; a series of magnifying glasses brought out the bokeh (out-of-focus bits) and aberrations. “I like to play, combining them to get optical distortions,” he says. “It is really interesting to see how the simple things that surround us in everyday life, like dust or scratches on a mirror, have fabulous properties.”
All of these creative efforts represent extracurriculars in Khasanov’s ever-expanding portfolio, and an opportunity to escape from the confines of the daily grind. “I do these personal projects to distract myself from the commercial work.” As for real-world uses, he could see Lumen Type being used in music videos; in fact, he made one to the tune of "Islands" by the XX. Check it out above.