Fuse 1–20 / Rattera


Barnbrook has contributed to FUSE 1–20, a retrospective book of the influential, experimental typeface publication FUSE. Launched by Neville Brody and Jon Wozencroft in 1991, each issue featured specially commissioned fonts and corresponding posters by contemporary graphic designers. FUSE 1–20 exclusively features FUSE19 and FUSE20, two newly-commissioned and never-before published issues. We have contributed a new font (included via download link) and A2 poster to FUSE20: Antimatter.

Above: Alfred Rattera in an unusual public appearance where he appeared as part of jazz band in Soho, London late 1960s. © The Rattera Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Rattera is a pictogram font based on the life and writings of the musician, mathematician, schizophrenic and outsider artist Alfred Rattera. After working in government and training for a short time as a priest, he became a recluse where he devised a philosophical alphabet. Each pictogram had a different (and very idiosyncratic) concept or thought, different equations and arrangements of the characters would supposedly help ensure a better future for humanity and open up new paths of consciousness or philosophical thought.

He was a very strange character with a bizarre life who is, as yet, relatively unknown in art and design circles mainly because very little of his visual works remain. As a consequence the font is reconstructed by us from his written notes which we gained brief access to via the official archive of his work The Rattera Foundation.

Above: Rattera Fuse Poster.

In addition to the poster featured in the book, there are also 3 downloadable PDFs: one detailing the life of Alfred Rattera, based on research collated when working on the project; a second with an extract from one of his notebooks, written down during the brief viewing and meeting with The Rattera Foundation; and finally, a wall chart which shows all of the characters and their specific meanings. 

Quote from Alfred Rattera:
“I will need new languages, new ways of expressing thought to be able to complete my system. The only way to do it is to create a new advanced language and notation system. Something that is appropriate to the intense and high level arguments that need to be had to further mankind and express ourselves sincerely in the Cosmos.”