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Typography: Invisible Cities

February 3, 2010

So as recounted in my MFA ramblings, I had a sort of mini-ephiphany in the library over the poster from The End of Print. (I will really try to add the image tomorrow–cause this is getting lame.) (I am googling the phrase “You Cannot Not Communicate” and apparently it’s quite a common term, which I did not know; I am still curious about the origins–I wonder if it’s the Medium is the Massage?)

For Type 2, we are working with Invisible Cities. We choose one city and are making a whole boatload of type compositions: 3 for the city’s name; 3 each for 5 adjectives/words to describe the city; 3 each for 3 aphorisms to describe the city.

Something has been bothering me, apart from what a serious boatload of work this is to complete by next Monday (did you do the math? that’s 27 compositions. In Type 1, we had 6 a week and most every week that took it all out of me.) For me, illustrating the adjective in type using the word… well it seems a little goofy. It’s like “simple”– well I can do whatever half-competent type comp about that, but if the word “simple” is even a bit evident–well, it will come across, won’t it?

And you’re not really adding anything of value, are you? It’s like–the type composition should be saying “simple.” So the actual words used–well–they should be saying something else.

Something that you, the designer, the question asker and th eventual solution provider–are going to decide.

So that was a huge old epiphany for me. I won’t bore you with the details of how it’s going to play out in my solutions yet–not sure myself and really showing the final product will be the only useful thing, won’t it–but I am pretty excited about this organizing principle–adding interpretation, however, simple, by thinking of the type I am choosing to mess with.

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