Microtrend: Elaborate Type

September 12, 2011

Alonzo Felix for the band Thrice Beggars

Let's talk about elaborate type. There seems to be a groundswell of interest not only in typography, but in the intersection between typography and illustration. So the end result is not so much a great typeface being employed in a beautiful way (which is all to the betterment of society). It's more of a group of words being illustrated to interlock and connect in a way that is as polished and clever as carefully crafted typography while achieving an identity not reproducible by just anybody with a big font library and a computer. Maybe it's just part of the continuing backlash against the democratization of digital design. As soon as everyone has access to the tools the product becomes less special and mysterious for a potential client. They're all likely to think that their computer-savvy nephew can do as good a job creating their marketing materials as a paid designer would. (And they might be right depending on the talents of that nephew.) But there's still a sense of magic to hand-created letterforms that differentiates it from firing up a Mac and banging something out in InDesign. The skill and practice is more akin to hand-lettering and calligraphy then pure typography. It has historical ties as far back as the book of Kells and as recent as graffiti. The specialized knowledge required to know the anatomy of letterforms and then manipulate them artfully is something beyond the skills of many seasoned professional designers. Here are some of the practitioners I've found whose work I love to marvel over and dissect: Jessica Hische http://jessicahische.is/awesome/ I'm sure I 've mentioned her in previous posts. I love her work. She illustrated a series of covers for Barnes & Noble Classics. Each one is beautiful and you know I love a good book cover. This is actually a print of her viney alphabet available in her online store here. Sebastian Lester http://www.seblester.co.uk/   Jorge Lawerta http://www.lawerta.com/ Jorge did a nice series of posters based on different neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. AlexTrochut http://www.alextrochut.com/#/works

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