Skip navigation

Category Archives: typography

The book is called ABC3D. I am most amazed with the letter “u” and the swift change from “x” to “y”, yet the whole video is worth watching. This is a pop-up book, an artwork, a physical motion graphics, a dynamic design so that the letters change with the angle of your hands before you can even observe the change so that you flip each page over and over again. It would be even better if the numbers and initials were somehow included. The artist is Marion Bataille.


Reading about the construction of the letters and their stance within geometrical borders, I realize that that I was also very much concerned nowadays -and actually have been for a considerable time- in the geometry of the space. The space we contain, our geometrical projection on the physical visible world, and before all that our common geometry that Da Vinci knows way better than any of us, and stated before any of us.

In a more general sense, I have been reading about semiotics for the whole past week, and way before that too, ended up that letters and type are actually emphasized too little compared to the formed langue(structure of language). On the other hand, until now in our History of Visual Communication course, we have been talkin about the formation of letters. This weeks subject was the masters of type, from Bembo to Bodoni. With a little enlightment of my own, I ended up thinking that letters are actually the initial signs, again systemized to become the word and the system we are talking about here is the purified form of all the surface phenomenon created by individuals. The letters are signs and even in the formation of each individual letter, there’s a system, consolidate in its own geometry.

Here are two videos I actually wanted to share, before things get more complex…

Vanishing Point from Takuya Hosogane on Vimeo.

Disruptive by Design from Takuya Hosogane on Vimeo.


This summer at CSM(Central Saint Martins), in the Holborn campus i’ve ran across several different studios like the huge wood athelier, the metal studio and personally most amazingly the letterpress studio where students can make their own letterpressing via using different print colors and metal types of many different font families.

The metal letters were placed in tiny boxes -the letter L in a rectangular box, the number 9 in another horizontal one, “,” in another box etc- and there was a little guide map to make life easier by showing the mapping of the letters in boxes. We could easily find where each letter bundle was placed in the big drawer and place them as tight as possible on a row which is stable by a ruler-like metal block -to arrange all the kerning and spacing- and also stabled at the bottom of each row by various-width thin metal blocks for leading purposes. For spacing, we had 5 different thicknesses of plain metal blocks, which required a little more precision and profession to complete the row, and hold it, once again as tight as possible so that nothing would move throughout the pressing on paper process.

First i went for Univers 65 -i’m a bit obsessive with the Univers family- yet we weren’t allowed to use the letters in the bottom drawers so as a second choice, i went for Franklin Gothic. I’ve written a random sentence, like the whole class did, and my tag below. Everyone used different fonts and result press was a bunch of different types on one canvas. The workshop leader color a huge wheel in two different colors; she mixed pink and yellow and turned the wheel for a while so that the colors were blended in the middle and still sharp and flat towards the edges. We had 3 colors on the wheel, which meant that we would have 3 different colors on the paper. Then the metal letters were placed below the colored wheel and each relief letter -at same height- were colored by the wheel until no metal texture -which meant “white/ blank” on paper- was visible.

The A3 paper was placed in its right place, between two thin wheel-like pieces of the mechanism, you locked the paper there by stepping on another mechanism at foot-level and then released when you were ready to turn the arm-wheel and press the sentences on the paper. The results were amazing in means of hand-made pressing, rather than using a digital printer which could fail you many times in a life-time.

Last year, in my graphic design course, one of my biggest worries was never achieving the right colors, meaning the colors i see on my lcd screen. Well, here, the whole coloring is in your control. You don’t need to see the color on your screen anymore since you have in flesh and blood. You smell the color, you smell the paper, you experience, you print your own material. I didn’t run across to anything more amazing than this in digital printing yet.

Here is the whole process with found images of the stages i’ve been talking about:








And here are the last two images, my own images, the two prints i’ve done at CSM workshop and took with me as a memoir:





As eventually happened with most of the alphabetic systems in history, the Roman’s alphabet -out of Greek emphasis, likewise their myths are- has been mediated initially on stone and/or wooden surfaces. Yet the common thought about design and many other sort of fields follow the idea that “nothing is carved in stone” as the indicative of change. Even though the unique and ornamental aesthetics of Roman letters -not borrowed from Greeks- were more suitable for paper-writing, stone press is known to be the more durable way of preserving the written language. Still, wood reliefs were hard to do using the Roman serif.

Today we’re concerned basically about ‘public lettering’ which John R. Nash talks about in his article In Defence of the Roman Letter, which he defines as the  “informational lettering on signs, memorials, buildings; lettering which is intended to be a part of our daily lives, and which I see as still being best served by the traditional Roman capital and its relatives an amazing family capable of infinite subtle variations, which no one has yet come to the end of.”

Comes to my mind now 2 distinct artists, using alphabet as the core of their art yet the outcome of their artwork is far from typographic design, rather one uses the very essence of letter forms with respect and admiration towards its aesthetics and the other uses in more of a talkative way, to reveal hic prophecy.

Lawrence Weiner a 1942-born New Yorker, as a central figure in 60s conceptual art, as mentioned before uses typography as the basis of his works after 70s. He started off using Franklin Gothic family for a while as the base of his typographic work, painting his sentences in huge dimensions on walls. His wall installations consist only of pure, undecorated words in a nondescript manner. “Although this body of work focuses on the potential for language to serve as an art form, the subjects of his epigrammatic statements are often materials, or a physical action or process…”


Porr Gentileza, our second typography hero, is a Brazilian artist recalled as a prophet. He performs his art writing his prophecies on ancient bare walls, adding a bit of yellow paint below, as his signature. What renders him much different from Lawrence Weiner is that Gentileza has his own new language for communication, yet the mode of this communication is also different from Weiner’s worldly monologues. Instead of writing “amor” he prefers to write “amorrr”.


Below is my beloved tree alphabet i’ve done this summer for a graphics design summercourse at CSM in London. The leaves were picked out on the Old Kent Road(i’ve got my story behind). The letters have no reference typeface yet a logic lays beneath following the types of leaves i have used for each letter’s anatomy. Yet the most fun part was when using the negative space revealed with the carving out of the letter forms on the leaves themselves.

This second family is the sharpening of the first, and i believe gives a better idea about the anatomy of the leaves, since our instructors have told us that if a design works in b/w, it always works in colored form. The above does not give any essence of the leaf itself once it is converted to a b/w image. So, here it is.






And i’ve also tried using my tree typo for making several posters, for the fun of it.




Ancient days were when the world was too big of a place for homo sapiens. Their relatively stronger minds and physical abilities have triggered them to create —predictably human species-made— geoglyphs greater in magnitude. Their animistic worldview connotes that they have devoted a soul for any co-existing species. They all are considered as a part of nature; not superior to, neither separate from it. Their loyalty on their agriculture and their gods is the nurture of their beliefs, and their beliefs are of their art.
The gigantic exercise on nature in Nazca’s is theorized as a consequence of the shaman’s hallucinative exercises inwhich they enter such state to worship their Gods for the growth and fertility. In order to have them see the images, they should have been horizontal and enormous.

|figures: (all stylized) hummingbird, spider, monkey, lizard, fish, orca, llama

|more geometrical shapes

|figurative spider

Nazca’s  predicted methodology in performing these figurative and mostly geometrical images is by the removing of the reddish pebble stones on earth and revealing the ground in lighter color beneath. It is stated that some of these figures cover a 200×200 (in meters) area, which requires a good sense of linear perspective when there’s a lack of aerial perspective. One strong prediction by the Swiss writer Erich von Däniken states that the figures are drawn by ancient astronauts for communication purposes and the more broad and long pieces of the figures were for landing their vehicles.

|the hummingbird has a considerably long beak

Not as charming and mysterious as the Nazca lines, the geoglyphs reminded me of some contemporary and inanonymous landscape designs and designers. Although there are some common touchpoints, today’s state of mind has the advantage of at least a chance of using aerial supervision to achieve the perfection of figures. If perfection is not a necessity, at least the documentation of the works are mostly done by birdview. Nazca people may never have had the chance to see what they have actually inherited on Peru territory dedicated to their beloved Gods.

Below is the open air performance of two Japanese guys in Berlin, Mai Yamashita & Naoto Kobayashi, called the Infinity Run. It took 15-18 hrs for them to finalize their infinity sign. The geoglyphs is predicted to take days, or even weeks to be completed.

The scale of the Infinity Run performance is much more humanist compared to those of the geoglyphs. Once again, they were made to worship the gods. The contemporary statement in art seems to have been shifted far away from the ancient theological scale, just as the physical scale shifted from god to human.

Hubert Blanz, a digital photographer and digital media artist has a typological work of highway photography under the name Roadshow. There are helixes of highways in his photographic work, forming chaotic, organic at the same time monstrous shapes.

In his digital city designs, the birdview images have a resemblance to alligator and lizard-like reptiles. Though I think that there’s a strong influence of the geoglyphs in content, still the work is not to worship gods in the new age.

Semiotics, as a significant argument in arts&design and any other visual-audial existences since Roland Barthes, is the study of sign processes and subjects the relation between signs and the things to which they refer to and their effects on people who are using those signs. The ancient signage process was through figurative images or body part prints on any writable surface, mostly rocks and stone. The cro-magnons communicated through the stains of animal figures and their handprints on the cave walls since they were hunting and gathering, whereas today people communicate through formed structures called words and a more cummulative and communalized form of it called ‘language’ for resolving and revealing thought.

A mixed media artist, Nicole Dextras, has a bunch of outdoor installations on land, what he calls the “Palimpsest” done by his devotion to words and ancient history of signage. He leads the voyeur to read the landscape, thus read the history through the landscape and his so-called “ghost words” as ice installations.

“Palimpsest is a new series of photographs documenting outdoor installations created during the cold months of the Canadian winter. The images are arranged as diptychs, presenting macro and micro views of ice, suggesting the transformative element of this fugitive medium.
Palimpsest refers to the ancient practice of erasing and writing over parchment, so that the previous text appears as a ghost on the page. The word also alludes to the act of deciphering traces of time and is therefore an apt analogy for the process of photographing the ephemeral nature of ice.”

Most earthwork artists like Robert Smithson, architect of the huge coast circles, and Alexander Heilner, the photographer of constarined aerial landscapes in Utah reveal a strong influence of the ancient geoglyphs in their works of different mediums. Smithson’s addiction in perfect geometrical shapes with the method of carrying and moving land directs our minds to those of Nazca’s. Yet another considerable point of the Nazca earthwork is that the climate and geography has been pre-observed so that the figures would be durable- the climate was stable just like they probably thought.

Althought the works were accepted as a fatal mystery by many, observation and experiment have been helping people a lot throughout the history. One artist I’ve recently met on the online platform, Theo Jansen, had the most amazing kinetic sculpture, moving with the wind energy and built accordingly. There’s no use of any sensors or electronic mechanism to make the sculpture robotic rather than kinetic. The work is called Strandbeest(beach animal), has a statement of creating new forms of life with the utilization of natural events.

After watching the video and see how the handmade skeleton moves, I believe that every aspect of human history has a logical explanation. Or else, mystery has been hiding itself for the past 4000 years.