László Moholy-Nagy. Above: Light Prop for an Electric Stage (Light-Space Modulator), 1922 – 1930, replica 1970, Collection Van Abbemuseum (source link). Below: film stills from Ein Lichtspiel: schwarz-weiss-grau (A Lightplay: Black, White, Gray), 1930 (source link).

Cut-out, Laser print on plastic sheet, 2005.

Laser print on plastic sheet and slide, 2012.

Light Replay, collage transferred to slide, projected on Polaroid paper, 2012.

Above: coloured pen on laser print, 2012. Below: first set of modules designed for Mona typeface, 2012.

Letters from the first version of Mona. Above: vector drawing. Below: laser print transferred to slide, projected on Polaroid paper, 2012.

Above: drawing template for Things to Do* exhibition title, cardboard, 2012. Below: set of modules designed for the last version of Mona, 2012. *Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, CH, April 19 – June 3, 2012.

Mona, final design. Above: vector drawing, 2012. Below: Mind Walk I, exhibition flyer, designed by James Langdon, 2013.

Ghost(s) Writer, first set of modules (selection), painted wood, plastic, 2013.

Ghost(s) Writer, final design, plastic, wood, 2013.

Mona Alt sketches, collage, pen and pencil on laser print, 2020.


Glyphs, series of 10 paintings, acrylic on paper, 2020.

The typeface that would become Mona was commissioned by the design studio Our Polite Society (NL/SE) in 2011, as part of a graphic identity for the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.¹ Four designs were produced, each loosely based on the work of a Bauhaus figure.² Mona takes its circuitous inspiration from the Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy.

The process began with a series of small collages referencing Moholy-Nagy’s 1926 film A Light Play: Black-White-Gray, which features a curious device of his making: the Light-Space Modulator. [1 2] Forms were drawn, scanned, printed onto transparent film, cut up, mounted into 35mm slide cases, and projected onto Polaroid paper to make prints with a rough, textural quality. [3 4] Taking constellations of abstract forms generated by this photographic experimentation, some first glyphs were drawn, imposed onto a dotted mesh derived from the visual effect of dust specks illuminated by Moholy-Nagy’s device. [5 6] Iterative work followed, and a provisional version of the typeface, finally without its supporting mesh, was completed in 2012. [7 8]

Work on Mona resumed in 2013. The mesh was reinstated as the base for a primitive typewriter, or Ghost(s) Writer,³ constructed in painted wood and plastic. [9] Existing as both sculptural object and drawing machine, the Ghost(s) Writer was used to generate new line-drawn glyphs, whose overlapping forms follow a modular logic. Each point in the mesh is the centre of a potential rotational movement. [10]

In 2020 this machine was revisited, updated, and used to complete the full set of Mona’s glyphs in two styles: with and without the visible mesh. [11 12]

¹Dess family (Josa, Breu, Mona and Pauk).
²Josef Albers, Marcel Breuer, László Moholy-Nagy and Paul Klee.
³Conceived for the 2013 Typojanchi: Seoul International Typography Biennial – SuperText, Culture Station Seoul 284, Seoul, KR, August 30 – October 11, 2013.