Toshi Omagari: Videogame typography

In week 2 of Autumn term, we were joined by typeface designer, Toshi Omagari. In this session, Toshi presented a wide range of enthralling videogame typefaces showing how they function to immerse users, along with providing students guidance on how to expertly produce typography for different projects. Followed by an 8×8 pixel type workshop and a fun retro arcade style party!

Arcade typography

Toshi presented many retro arcade typefaces, explaining the evolution of how type was designed since the start of videogames, emphasising the importance of type’s legibility and its interactive elements. His passion for arcade game typography came from Toshi being surrounded by arcade games in Japan whilst growing up. The wide variety of gaming’s colourful and animated type strongly influenced Toshi’s existing interest for fonts fonts and the characteristics of typefaces. This love for typography and videogames inspired him to research and write his book on Arcade Game Typography. The book contains a plethora of arcade game typefaces that Toshi researched to show how type in videogames interact digitally and how type is designed to present messages to audiences on screen.

Arcade Game Typography by Toshi Omagari.

Students were interested in how type has developed over time with the evolution from black and white to a wide array of colours and the introduction of drop-shadows, gradients and the progression of multi-lingual type. Toshi explained that ‘these fonts have been with us the whole time, but there was no comprehensive effort to document them. Maybe because it was not considered a serious subject by professional typographers, or maybe too technically demanding.’ But as he had shown students, there is no subject too broad or niche to explore when researching graphic design, which is comforting information for the part three students writing their dissertations. 

Toshi Omagari analysing pixel typography and how type interacts with the videogame on screen.

Pixel workshop & pixel party


Students were engaged in various pixel typography exercises.

The department held workshops lead by tutors after Toshi’s lecture. Students practiced colourful Lego letter-pressing pixel styled letters, as well as creating fonts using post-it notes where students won some great prizes!

After the typeface workshops, the dance-mats and arcade games came out for a fun night of music, food and drink in the department. From games like Pac-man, Streetfighter and Mortal Kombat, students had an array of games to play while socialising with their course-mates. To conclude, all students and lecturers had an exciting day learning about retro typography and having the opportunity to play some classic arcade games.

Students loved playing all the retro-arcade games!


From arcade game typography to the pixel party, students adored this week’s Baseline shift. Students gained a lot of insight into producing typography along with the fun of playing against their classmates in retro arcade games.

‘His presentation was so intriguing and the passion behind Toshi’s work was incredible! ’ – Part 1 student

‘This Baseline shift was very interesting! I loved it.’ – Part 3 student