October 16, 2008
True Blue Sky Thinking

Where everyone else saw only buildings overhead, one innovator saw a new font.

Type the Sky.jpg

Lisa Reinermann, a University of Duisburg student, had this Aha! insight while exploring the narrow streets of Barcelona.

Suppose you were Lisa. How would you notice the font-ness of sky-shapes contained by rooflines? First, ignore size. Don't let the fact that fonts are small but these sky-shapes are building-sized distract you from the visual reality. (Lisa's camera probably helped her flatten, rescale and reframe her perception.) Second, reverse figure and ground. Make the usual background (the sky) the foreground and the usual foreground (the closer buildings) background. Role reversals are common in many innovations. Weaknesses (like inferior glue) often reframe as strengths and become the breakthroughs (Post-It Notes) of the future.

To Lisa's credit, once she had her breakthrough she stuck with it, searching, walking and neck-craning to find other locations to complete every letter in the alphabet. Her photo-typographic alphabet is now a font set published by German Type Foundry Slanted called Type The Sky. The collection comes as a type face and a photo book.

Posted by Tim Moore at October 16, 2008 03:28 PM


Fascinating! Wow! Many dimensions to this. One interesting anecdote from the past that may interest you... speaking of roofs (and why isn't it "rooves"?) I once did some brainstorm facilitation for a large roofing conglomerate. They came up with the idea for doing infrared satellite photos of commercial roofs in the U.S. By so doing, they could show prospective clients where the "hot spots" were in their roof and project how long it would be before the roof would majorly deteriorate and need repair. They were entering the "ounce of prevention" business and had high tech photos to make their point. I don't think they actually went all the way with this, but I loved the concept and your BLUE SKY piece reminded me of it. One degree of separation.

Posted by: Mitch Ditkoff at September 3, 2007 11:12 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?

Who Are We?

Idea Champions is a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation. We help individuals, teams and entire organizations tap into their innate ability to create, develop and implement ideas that make a difference.

Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
Webinars Powered by
Idea Champions University

Webinars for online training If you enjoy our blog, you will love our newly launched webinars! Our training is now accessible online to the whole world.

Visit IdeaChampionsUniversity.com to find out more.
Our New Book

If you want to know when Mitch Ditkoff's new book, "Wisdom at Work", will be published, enter your email address.

Your Email address:
Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
Awake at the Wheel, Book about big ideas If you're looking for a powerful way to jump start innovation and get your creative juices flowing, Awake at the Wheel is for you. Written by Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions.
See Mitch's keynote address Enjoy a 7-minute interview with Mitch at the Ethical Sourcing Forum in NYC: 3/28/11
Featured in Alltop Guy Kawasaki's Alltop "online magazine rack" has recognized Idea Champions' blog as one of the leading innovation blogs on the web. Check out The Heart of Innovation, and subscribe!
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

"In tune with corporate America." — CNN

Breakthrough Cafe.
A totally unique brainstorming salon. Great food. Great food for thought. Great people. Collaborate, have fun, get out of the box.

"Inno-waiters With Whine Lists" – The Breakthrough Cafe featured in January 2006 issue of