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  • Kinetic text to rule the world: Liliane Lijn in conversation this July

    The University of Leeds has commissioned a public artwork Converse Column by internationally renowned British-American artist Liliane Lijn to mark the new south entrance to the University, adjacent to its new Nexus innovation hub. To celebrate the launch of the artwork, Lijn will discuss her work, influences and major new commission for the University of Leeds, with Leeds Art Gallery’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nigel Walsh in the Liliane Lijn in Conversation event on the 3rd of July.

    pioneer in the interaction of art, science, technology and language Lijn works with kinetic text and her new work for the University is designed to represent communication and to inspire collaboration and innovation with real world impact. The work is a nine metre-high revolving column of transforming words, to which staff and students have contributed ideas. 

    “Liliane Lijn’s work covers a large spectrum of interests, from Light and its interaction with diverse new materials to the development of a fresh image for the feminine. Lijn has taken inspiration from incidental details both man-made and natural, mythology and poetry, science and technology. Lijn is interested in the development of language, collaborating across disciplines and making art that is interactive, in which the viewer can actively participate” notes the artist's site. Typeroom pays a small tribute to this ground-breaking creative with a selection of some of her heavily typographic-infused art experiments.

    Alphabet, 1962. “The word accelerated loses its identity and becomes a pattern pregnant with energy. It is pregnant with the energy of its potential meaning should it once again become a word” said Liliane Lijn back in 1968. Six years earlier, in 1962, the British-American artist Letrasetted words onto the surface of cylinders and cones, then fixed them to motorised turntables, and made them spin at different speeds. “She wanted the word to be seen in movement, dissolving into a pure vibration until it became the energy of sound. When Lijn puts words on cylinders and cones and makes Poem Machines, she wants the word to be seen in movement splitting itself into a pure vibration until it becomes the energy of sound. These were the first in a series of works with text and Lijn called them Poem Machines because she made them to give power back to a depleted language” notes the artist's site. 

    S/HE, 2014. “A linguistic intertwining of gender in nine languages. In S/HE, Lijn discovered nine languages in which the feminine pronoun SHE contains the masculine pronoun HE. These eighteen images indicate how cosmic motions can transform meaning.” Collection of the artist.

    First Words, 2000. “What are the first words we say and could they have an influence on the rest of our lives? Lijn was regaled with the apocryphal anecdotes of famous men’s first words but was unable to uncover even one anecdote relating to famous women until she began her own search for first words. It is widely believed that most children begin their relationship with language by naming their parents but Lijn has found that many children will try to name anything that interests them. Bird, tree, plane, colour are a few words which she has already collected from mothers. She is equally interested in the sounds made before complete words are pronounced. Lijn’s plan is to collect 2000 first words: a word for each year since the birth of Christ. The ‘children’ in question can be grownups now as long as their first word is either remembered or documented.”

    Way Out Is Way In, 2009. “The physicist David Bohm, whose seminars Lijn attended in the early 1970s said that ‘Matter is ‘frozen light’. Light, defined as something travelling at the speed of light, contains all information.’ This led her to understand that light and language were indeed inextricably interconnected. In Way Out is Way In, Lijn combines the two main elements of her early work, light and text, in a column of luminous words made from points of light, borrowing a phrase from William Burroughs’ The Naked Lunch considered to be Burroughs’ seminal work. In common with Burroughs, whom Lijn met in Paris in the early 1960’s, she has a lifelong interest in science and technology. Lijn’s interest in science, again much like his, was connected to her early interest in ancient civilizations and their myths and rituals. The 3-meter column is made from used industrial drums that are programmed to rotate at steadily increasing speeds until the words, a tracery of drilled holes, blur into vibrating pulses of light. In Way Out Is Way In, the word becomes light and light slowing down appears as the word.” Collection of the artist, photographs by Klaus Wehner.

    Am I Who, 2010. “In these recent text works Lijn wants words to be interchangeable with colour. Whether Lijn work with a poet’s words or her own text, she wants the words to float into the viewers mind in continually changing sequences. Meaning, like a river, is always in flux.” Collection of the artist.

    Poem Game, 1970. “In 1970, Liliane, Liliane Lijn created a deck of 54 of word cards. Each card had one word to a side, ‘the words themselves having come to mind as I wrote them on the cards’. She originally called the cards Keysand invented three games to play with them: a game of power, a game of poetry and a game of divination. Invited by John Dugger and David Medalla to participate in the International Festival for Democracy in Chile at the Royal College of Art in London, Lijn originally staged Power Game in the autumn of 1974, in collaboration with her friend, the art critic, Alistair McIntosh. Power Game, was restaged by Lijn on the 28th of July 2009 at the ICA, as a socio-political live performance set in an imaginary casino. More recently, Power Game has been performed at BALTIC (2010), The Arches, Glasgow (2011) and at the Zabludowicz Collection (2012) and Southbank Centre (2016) London. In 1974, Lijn used the Poem Game cards to write Six Throws of the Oracular Keys. A book of poems and drawings, it was published in 1981 in the xeroxed edition Unifinitude by Edition de La Nepe, Paris. Poem Game was played at the Poetry Marathon, Serpentine Gallery (2009), at the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre (2013) and Art14, London. The aim of the game is to write a poem. On receiving their cards, each player may automatically put together his/her words into a sentence. However, when it comes to playing, each player in turn can only place one word down at a time. This means that no one player manages to write a complete phrase. Each player must continually adapt their prepared or imagined word sequences to the changes that occur during each round. The intention of Poem Game is to free the players from preconceived ideas of what a poem might be. To this effect, the players use the word cards to collaborate at writing a poem. The game may be played by 2 to 10 players but a small group of up to 5 is best.” 

    Get Rid of Government Time, 1962. Letraset on painted metal drum, plastic, painted metal, motor. Words from a poem by Nazli Nour. Frame altered in 1965, private collection. Photographs by Richard Wilding 2014.

    All images via Liliane LijnThe Liliane Lijn in Conversation event is organised by University of Leeds and Yorkshire Sculpture International. More info here.

  • Visual poetry alert: Dovneon and his explosive neons light up the sky

    Swedish conceptualist artist David Stenbeck aka Dovneon on Instagram has been featured in many visual feeds and URLs which crave for pure pop sensation. Filled with poetic takes in neon format Stenbeck practices his art in the digital 3D realm. A lover of pink -"the strongest abstract and emotional hue for bridging interhuman communication, and the agent of so many sentimental values" he told RedMilk- Dovneon expands his artistic flavor through type and more, nurturing Instagram with visual poetry against the tides of ugliness. 

    A neon in the sky never harmed a soul so explore his pink as a rose, adventures in here


  • Cannes Lions 2019: A blank newspaper and a bulletproof book win big in this year's Print & Publishing awards

    Choosing a winner among 1,252 entries from 62 countries in Print & Publishing only is no easy task, yet, Cannes Lions 2019 announced 32 awards. One Grand Prix, six Gold, seven Silver and 18 Bronze Lions were awarded in this year's Cannes Lions event with the blank edition of Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar earning the Grand Prix in Print and Publishing at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity Monday night.

    The award was given to Impact BBDO Dubai, which redesigned An-Nahar, a newspaper in Lebanon, to feature a blank front page as a protest for the political situation in the country. The blank space represented “civic conversation grinding to a halt after elected officials failed to form a government for months on end” notes AdAge.

    “It was a perfect demonstration that print creativity can do a lot,” said Olivier Altmann, jury president and co-founder of agency Altmann + Pacreau. The bold printed protest aptly named “The Blank Edition,” was covered in more than 100 publications internationally including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the BBC.

    The campaign achieved 5 million dollars worth of earned media. Following this unique edition Nayla Tueni, the newspaper's editor in chief, held a press conference explaining the blank front page and encouraging the Lebanese citizens to use the space for their own headlines, sending a message to the government through the social media. The core idea behind the campaign was the following: if politicians aren't working, why should anyone else?


    “For us, it was the perfect demonstration that print creativity can do a lot for print media itself, for print journalism,” explained Print and Publishing Jury President Olivier Altmann, co-founder, CEO and CCO of Altmann & Pacreau, France.

    “We thought it was really bold to award a Grand Prix to a white piece of paper that people could fill. It’s almost an interactive tool for real life. At a moment when politicians around the world are not doing their job properly for people, it was a great example for how ideas can change the world for good,” Altmann added on the unanimous jury decision. 

    This year's Gold Winners are: David Miami, USA, Try Not To Hear This  x 3 – Coke KTCHKK, Coke PTSSHHHH & Coke FZZZZZZZ for Coca-Cola, adam&eve DDB UK, Lovers, Don’t Spread The Hate x 3 – Honey, Butter & Marmalade for Unilever’s Marmite, Lola MullenLowe Madrid, Spain, Clowns x 3, Birthday 1, 4 & 5 for Burger King, VMLY&R x 3 – Earthquake, Tsunami & Hurricane – for Amnistía Internacional, McCann Paris, France, The Non-Issue, for L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect and FCB Chicago, USA, The Gun Violence History Book, for Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. 

    “Made from newspaper articles, facts, and data to showcase a tragic and deadly history that repeats itself. This book has done what history has been unable to do. Stop a bullet" notes Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence on the awarded publication in partnership with FCB Chicago. “The Gun Violence History Book” outlined in 19 chapters and 853 pages, is the 228 years of gun violence history in America.


    The articles, facts, and data within are intended to be a tool to teach current and future voters how we can stop repeating history. Additionally, the book has formed part of a learning plan for teachers and schools in Chicago-land.

    Where the bullet finally stopped, is a message for readers, “This bullet stopped. But history continues to be written. Support universal background checks at” The site helps connect people with their senator and then sends an automated email urging for universal background checks. The nonprofit is also encouraging communities to support Fix the FOID Act [HB 96] – a new legislation with the goal of addressing loopholes in our existing gun licensing system – by encouraging lawmakers to support. 

    Check the full list of winners here. 

  • Typographics 2019: Ellen Lupton, Letterform Archive & more in this year's design festival for people of type

    Organized and run by a small group of type fans the Typographics festival is a must-attend celebration of all things type in New York City. The Typographics design fest­ival, now in its 5th year, is a multi-part event series foc­used on con­tempo­rary typo­graphy and where its future may lie. A forum for presentations about graphic design, web design, publication design, book design, type design, packaging, branding, corporate identity, advertising, motion graphics, and more Typographics focuses on new frontiers in digital typography and beyond. 

    The international line-up of speakers includes emerging and established designers, attracting a vital and intelligent community of attendees. In the week before and the week after the main conference, Type@Cooper offers workshops and tours, open to the public, to educate and entertain participants. 

    The TypeLab at Typographics 2019 will host a series of hands-on work­shops, demos, inter­views, and experiments, June 13–16. Keeping with its alternative roots, the TypeLab is a space for informal events to complement the main schedule of the Typographics conference – like a multi-day typographic hackathon.

    In this year's workshops attendees can learn the magic of movable type in a  4-day crash course with Todd Goldstein or use their senses to develop a visual system for their own highly personal line of ice cream in Branding with Type with writer, curator, educator, designer and Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, Ellen Lupton. 

    “Create a menu of visual elements and apply them to a unique product family. Use typography, color, and graphic elements to express sensory delight and explore personal culinary themes (heritage, nostalgia, health, futurism, feminism—you name it). Use this one-day workshop to spark your creativity, find new inspiration, and create a chill portfolio piece. Participants receive copies of Ellen Lupton’s latest books from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Design Is Storytelling and The Senses: Design Beyond Vision” notes Typographics 2019. 

    This year’s Typographics will feature the fourth Typographics Book Fair, June 15–16, with items for sale from some of our favorite booksellers. There will be a wide diversity of material available relating to typography, lettering, design, etc, with everything from rare antiquarian type specimens to contemporary titles on modern graphic design.

    From Draw Down Books, a designer-run publishing platform based in New England, producing small and unique books with a focus on graphic design and typography through Printed Matter / St Marks, the world’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination, understanding, and appreciation of artists’ books and related publications to Letterform Archive's table to snag rare foundry ephemera deaccessioned from one of the best type specimen collections in the world or The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design & Typography, one of the co-organizers of the Typographics festival, which will be selling some of these items as well as some duplicates of type specimens and other books from their collection of 20th-century graphic design this is a Book Fair not to be missed.






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  • Typography in VR: a study and compilation methodology online

    "If information, has to be communicated in space, can we follow the current rules of type design to communicate our idea or information about our products?" wonders Juneza Niyazi. To answer the many questions Niyazi collaborated with Ksenya Samarskaya to explore type design in space.

    "The guidelines used by typography designers today are based on the spacing between characters, kerning, height and width of the letters. But when the same information has to be placed in space, the above guidelines may not suffice to help the user read the information. Perspective plays a major role when designing for space. The other attributes that play a key role are — occlusion, height in the visual field, relative size, relative density, aerial perspective, binocular disparities, accommodation, convergence, and motion perspective. So let’s say in a few years, the most popular medium we use to communicate to our consumers is Mixed or Virtual Reality, like the movie Her where a video or product launch will occur in space; can we still use existing typography to communicate information? How will type exist in the third dimension along with light and time?"

    The answers to the questions are featured in Typography in VR, a study and compilation methodology which you can read in full here

    All images via Medium