Green-fingered typographer Anna Sing creates a ‘bouquet’ of typefaces inspired by the history of houseplants
The first was Pruneau. It’s a sensible, cropped sans serif and it was “the vessel in which I taught myself type design,” says Anna. Representing the “bare necessities” of a typeface, it summons the aesthetics of a sanely pruned indoor plant. A good prune is essential for the healthy future growth of a plant, and as a result, this typeface has become the perfect fertilizer for its creative process to flourish.
Houseplants first became popular in the 1800s, Anna found out while reading History in a jar by Catherine Horwood. So, drawing on a myriad of Victorian typefaces for inspiration, she came up with Aureum – a traditional serif typeface “with a twist”. This elegant typeface is inspired by the shapes of the “popular houseplant pathos, a sturdy vine plant that anyone can grow with just water.”
For those of us who can’t seem to keep a houseplant alive, Anna prescribes her spiky little Sagauro typeface. Its shapes mimic the water-absorbing spines of cacti – the perfect option for people who tend to forget to water their plants. Then there’s Orkyd, which “was born out of the mystery of the grocery store orchid, the houseplant that’s always for sale but rarely seen in the home.” Taking just three days to create, Anna spent hours on her bedroom floor tracing the symmetrical flower shapes of a “some 600-page orchid encyclopedia”. This bold yet whimsical typeface was his favorite design and enjoyed much-deserved success, recently featured in Monotype’s Type Trends 2022 report and a Paloma Wool campaign.
Since the in-person thesis show was canceled (“thanks again Covid”), Anna has set herself one final challenge: brushing up on her coding skills and creating her own website so that Greenhouse Type operates like a true foundry. of characters. She is now evolving it into a type two foundry and is slowly creating a second version for each typeface. While her short-term plan is simply to add a few “new plant faces to the font bouquet”, she has also “dreamed of one day becoming a florist in the mountains somewhere”.