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typography

Have you ever heard of Concrete Poetry - a poetic movement that emerged in the early 1950s and sought to create a universal form of poetry that could be described as a mixture of poetry, art and graphic design? The basic principle of the movement is the idea that words are material. The Concrete Poets used words not primarily for their semantic qualities, but as constitutive elements. Through the relationship between the written text and its spatial arrangement on the page, they gave their poems another level of meaning. Their works led to a new kind of verse that abandoned the linear structure of poetry and resulted in a new form of poetry that could be read and looked at.⁠ ⁠ Bolivian-born Swiss poet, writer and publisher Eugen Gomringer is often described as the father of concrete poetry. From 1953 onwards, together with Dieter Roth and Marcel Wyss, Gomringer co-published the artist’s magazine spirale, that formed the starting point for his form of poetry. From an early stage, Gomringer wanted to blur the boundaries of poetry and the language of advertising. This publication combines original images and selected works from Gomringer’s long-standing collaborations as art director and copy-writer for various companies. It also contains the theoretical essay “vom vers zur konstellation” (from verse to constellation), Gomringer’s original manifesto published in 1954.   German Buy English Buy...

The cover of the latest issue of foam features an image of Sarah Bahbah's work. The extraordinary Palestinian-Australian artist reflects on her womanhood and Arab roots through cinematic still images she creates with herself as the protagonist and her inner monologue as the caption. As female sexuality is often considered a taboo subject in Arab culture, Bahbah takes us on a visual journey into her soul, reclaiming her desire, her power and her Arab identity as a whole. In doing so, she takes the upper hand over her own narrative. She frees herself from shame and guilt, two feelings that serve to maintain control over the female body. Her images offer a brave, honest account of what it means to be a woman.⁠⁠ From art, literature and media to academia and internet culture, the visual and the written language have crossed paths many a time, creating a genre of their own. Issue 60 of foam looks closely at current crossroads and intersections. What meanings and stories can one medium give or take from the other? And how can they influence our thinking or the way we perceive and navigate a world of fact and fiction.   Buy...

This is a story entirely written in burnt matches. The longer the word, the longer the match. It is a story about big and small fires, love, death, intrigue and plenty of blisters.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The odd typeface in which it was encoded was developed by Martijn in't Veld and Johannes Lang through OpenType code whose ligature feature looks for the length of the typed word and replaces it with one of up to ten matches of the respective word length. Besides dozens of burnt matches—long, short, scorched or badly burnt—the character set includes two lighters and some extra long safety matches. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Happy reading. Don’t burn your fingers.⁠⁠ ⁠   Buy...

[gallery size="full" ids="86498,86499,82534"] "Written words are a funny thing. They surround us to an extent that it is almost impossible to escape them, and at the same time they tend to fly under the radar. They are omnipresent, in our streets, on our phones, sometimes even on our skin. We read words all day long and absorb their meaning, processing information, messages, ideas. We do so by looking at letters, but we hardly ever pay attention to their appearance, at least not consciously. And yet letters come in endless different forms, all of which carry meaning and evoke certain emotions and associations - often more so than the words themselves." And still typefaces are mere forms. They release their subliminal power only once their are used. So in a way they are more like a building material, absolutely crucial, but only becoming truly meaningful when people make language visible through them. ⁠That is why the newly released book by German Finnish masters of typography Schick Toikka shows not just their typefaces but interesting examples of how they have been put to use by others - hence the title "Other Words". Font descriptions, design studio introductions, as well as a wonderful preface written by Florian Hardwig, which we quoted above, turn this book into a reference book of a different kind. By featuring tons of type samples as well as works and collaborations with designers and artist that engage with Schick Toikka letterforms in visually and contextually interesting ways, the publication, created as a part of Schick Toikka's exhibition at Helsinki Design Museum, honers the ways in which fonts can be used.⁠⠀ Buy...

When Erik Brandt went out to have his sabbatical year he had nothing more simply and ingenious in mind than turning the side of his garage into a public space for typographic experiments. Over the period of five years, this board - located somewhere in the nowhere in South Minneapolis - became an irresistible magnet for designers from all over the world. It didn't take long and this venue - only one 'submit'-click away - became a widely appreciated, client-demand-free, visceral, democratic, non-commercial dialogue about speculative (type-)design futures. In short: Ficciones Typografika! Published by Formist, who designed a typeface especially for this dense and stunning atlas of possible and contemporary visual language (for typo-nerds: Fiction is a modern sans sarif type based on Hermann Berthold's Akzidenz-Grotesk, Max Miedinger's Helvetica and Adrian Frutiger's Univers), this whole lotta book gives multitude ways to an arena for not-so-precious typographic manifestos, otherwise neglected viewpoints and forgotten words. Next to Shoplifter's New Type Design, Beste Plakate and Femme Type, Ficciones Typografika 1642 is definitely a precious thing for everybody who falls for typography and for amazing book design! P.S.: A thousand thanks, Erik Brandt, for 'bringing together a collected knowledge of people, places and things that one could not possibly collect alone' as Ben Duvall said! Buy ...

Bi-Scriptual celebrates the growing interest in the field of multiscript design. Eight scripts are selected for this purpose based on the number of people who use them around the world and on historical and political factors. The scripts are Arabic, Chinese (Hansi), Cyrillic, Devanagari, Korean (Hangul), Hebrew, Greek and Japanese (Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana). Using hundreds of illustrations and prototypes by numerous designers and studios, and featuring lengthy texts by international experts, Bi-Scriptual reveals the charms of working simultaneously with two writing systems, which we occasionally come across in city posters, signage, lettering and type design. Being particularly sensitive to the the world’s socio-cultural diversities makes this volume one of a kind in the realms of typography. Buy...

What a beautiful magazine! Dazzling with a range of wildly saturated colours, fluorescent inks and oozing visuals, the second issue of Eye on Design presents a variety of designers and their works from different times and cultural backgrounds. A laborious attempt to capture in one title the plurality of experiences and the common associations between graphic design, sensorial and drug-induced, mind-bending experiments. In addition to touching on topics of mental health and substance abuse, Eye on Design speaks about the lesser known stories of the women who contributed to the explosive visual creativity of the post 1960s psychedelia and today’s equivalent to these years of kaleidoscopic posters, maddening patterns and healthy doses of optical illusion. Buy...