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Erik Brandt’s garage wall has lots of typographic stories to tell

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ver since June 2013, Erik Brandt, a professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and first-rate graphic designer from Minnesota, has been pushing the boundaries between typography and the world we live in. Dubbed “Ficciones Typografika” it is an experimental project that explores the relationship between type and urban space in the most humane way possible. This domestic showcase, one of the many creative experiments he has curated over the years, features stunning typographic artworks on display form around the globe at his own garage, on a very common wall in Minneapolis’ Powderhorn Park neighborhood where he lives.

A variety of creators, from iconic masters of graphic design through up and coming talented young pros to little-known students, have submitted work to F.T. Felix Pfäffli, Ed Fella, Shiraz Gallab, Reza Abedini, Janneke Meekes are some of the many designers that have been featured since that summer, almost two and a half years ago. Each one of the 24″x36″ posters is printed out by Brandt on a high-quality black-ink printer on white, green, blue, yellow, or pink bond paper and then it belongs to the weather, the passengers that go by, the public that gathers outside of his open space gallery. It is a project with no boundaries, no fees, no paperwork, no deadlines. It is an autonomous zone for any designer to explore his limits and craftsmanship as long as it fits the wall. For Erik Brandt, a man who grew up around the world, due to his father’s tenure with the Peace Corps, “Ficciones Typografika” is an invitation to the world.

“As a kid, I envied people who had grown up somewhere,” he told reForm. “I don’t think I ever lived in the same house for longer than three years, until this house. I definitely admire and respect people who have strong roots somewhere.” Brandt’s roots feature obviously the most admired garage wall there is. “Ficciones Typografika” is dynamic and ever evolving. “It means that you write your own story, your own brief,” commented Sarah Boris, a French designer based in London, who has contributed with a Nelson Mandela inspired project. “It’s stories written by designers. It’s like a giant ongoing exquisite corpse that doesn’t necessarily make sense as one narrative but that makes sense day by day, each time a new poster appears online and on the wall of the garage” she added.

An offline and online project alike (once the poster is on the wall its digital counterpart is uploaded on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al) this is a global artistry movement that looks and feels ordinary. “To me, this is a borderless and timeless project that is the start of a new community, online and offline,” said Boris. “I would love it if we all could meet one day on Erik’s street. But he has already managed to do that, in a way.”