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Letterforms: Bawdy, Bad and Beautifulby Steven Heller and Christine Thompson
Synopses & Reviews
Letterforms Bawdy, Bad & Beautiful examines the current evolution and use of nontraditional letterforms — type at its most eye-popping and quirky, created by designers who push the boundaries of print to see how eccentric or funny or metaphoric letterforms can be made before they are no longer letterforms.
Today's type compositions are more often freestyle than rigid, verging on abstraction, in which letterforms are used like paint on canvas. This kind of experimentation has risen steadily in recent years, often as a reaction against the easy mediocrity the personal computer allows — and until now, no other book has covered this fascinating ground. Letterforms and type compositions like the ones included here are about being expressive, about breaking rules — yet staying within the confines of acceptability. They also represent a growing desire among designers to impress a personal, artistic stamp on their work.
Featuring examples of the very best of this kind of unconventional type play by a wide range of designers and in a wide variety of applications, Letterforms Bawdy Bad & Beautiful illustrates the nexus of fucntional and artful typography — the junction where readability and artistic expression converge. In addition to providing a valuable historical overview of its subject, the book offers insights into how to push typographical boundaries and shows how such freedom can work in professional contexts.
"Letterforms: Bawdy, Bad & Beautiful is a testament to the artistic possibility of type. Included are illustrations from such design luminaries as Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmeister, and Fred Woodward." Creativity
A publishing first, this is the only book on the market to examine the intriguing history, evolution, and application of four specific genres of dynamic letterforms: hand-drawn, vernacular, humorous, and digitally driven.
The book provides a historical context for each genre and explores the anatomy of its type, with a look at the form and function of representative examples. Selected full alphabets and letterforms are presented with text on their origins and analog or digital evolution, and work produced by a wide range of designers show how these typographic forms are applied. The authors then assess how these forms will continue to evolve.
About the Author
Steven Heller, a senior art director at the New York Times and editor of the AIGA Journal of Graphic Design, is the author of The Swastika, Design Literacy, Paul Rand, Typology, and numerous other books on graphic design. He lives in New York.
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