Through a stroke of remembering someone else's genius, I remembered the Hershey Fonts.
I first heard about the Hershey fonts at TypeCon 2016 in Seattle in this talk given by Frank Grießhammer. A.V. Hershey was a theoretical physicist who programmed instructions that plotted vectors into the shape of letters to use in his publication and computational work in the late 1960s. Hershey was a rare, prolific pioneer. His inspiring work as a creative coder and early digital type designer is a sure example of taking meaningful risks.
With the help of Glyphs, I was able to convert those junky svgs into modern OTFs. Glyphs can take one master set of font outlines and offset the path on export to produce several different "weights" to easily get the style dialed in.
With the type styles locked, it became easier to iterate and flow some of those 1960s computer vector ideas into colors, patterns, icons, and animations.
Still, striking the right tone took some time. "It's a balance", moans every creative director.
The vector style lent itself very kindly to vector minded paper.js—which powered the experience and animations on the interaction heavy landing page.