Most recent issue of CA

Eric_West's picture

I was at BN tonight, and I picked up the most recent issue of CA. Now I really like CA, so don't think I'm knocking it. See cover. I'd like to hear thoughts on the illlustration, whether it's implied meaning (commercialization/exploitation) could have been expressed with more clarity and sophistication. My thoughts after a few seconds were, the illustration was repeating itself multiple times over, given the audience (us) the point would be made immediately w/o the swoosh or 'pod buds. IMHO

jselig's picture

I admit I skipped over some posts so instead of addressing anything said earlier I'd like to offer up my view on this cover when I first saw it. (and steer clear from derailing this any more)

The use of Che Guevara's image on the front cover pulled in the article about Cuba nicely while highlighting how one cult figure in a country has turned into a commercial success of sorts that it's just as recognizable as the Nike swoosh of white ear bud headphones these days. It also worked nicely as Apple's ad's tend to run with the silhouette's and headphones, replacing the star with Nike's logo was an obvious choice in a way considering it's one of the most recognized shapes on the planet now.

ebensorkin's picture

I am not sure you can crit an image the the one presensted *without* talking about who Che was ( or wasn't) or the fact that the info is all 3rd hand at best, etc. That's the whole point of the image; it's built-in controversy.

CA & the graphic artist (whoever that was) is attempting ( for the umpteeth time ) to stir the pot with an old contreversial image. And guess what? It worked. Here on Typophile anyway. That doesn't mean that there aren't other kinds of graphic design points to be made as well. But the two are going to mixed in this case. It's inevitable.

So I don't agree that the thread was hijacked. Not at all. The whole idea that it was seems completely & utterly ridiculous to me.

RE: 'or refrain from posting.'

This seems a bit harsh as well. I know that we are looking for a kinder & gentler Typophile & I am all for it. But it's hard to avoid breaking a new rule & especially one that you don't understand yet. I can be compliant & I am willing - but only for a rule that's clear. If someone can show me what I could be missing here I am willing to try to understand.


Claudio, Nice post!

fontplayer's picture

Eben, that was astute and perfectly stated.

lore's picture

Yep, things do sort themselves out eventually. I was one of the few that opted for "do nothing" in Paul Hunt's poll. I believe that at some point we can all stop, look back and find out where things started going wrong and why otherwise we'll all hold a grudge that will probably come back at the next opportunity...hasta la victoria siempre (oups!). Having said that, call me naive but I think that the cover should reflect the mood of the content/ article, in this case a survey on post revolution graphic design in Cuba. I wanted to know who the author was because I had never heard of him and found this:
I think it's easier to discuss the cover image if you know more about the content. The book cover (and I think it applies to mags as well) sets the overall tone of the piece so it's not enough to discuss Che (but it helps). I think it's more useful to discuss the relationship between the cover and the content. IMHO of course...

dezcom's picture

"I think it’s more useful to discuss the relationship between the cover and the content."



Eric_West's picture

Lorenza, thats a good find. I've read the article, and as I posted earlier, there is very little about cuban graphic design or commercial exploitation ( which would lead to a discuss the relationships between cover and content". That's funny that Rodriguez was ticked about it too. The author is a former head of ICONGRADA, how does CA handle that???

ER's picture

Hi everyone,
This is the guy responsible for all this trouble! I was looking around to see if anyone thought anything of my CA cover and landed here. Glad it started up some discussion, it's great when a simple piece of art can do that these days I think.

Let me put out some info that might help understand the image a bit.

CA was doing a feature on the last ten years of my illustration work. I do a lot of work for The New Yorker, TIME, Rolling Stone, etc. I'm also an art director. I found out they were also doing a story on Cuban design in the same issue so I sent this image for them to consider for the cover and they loved it. Probably because they thought it would start some conversation such as this.

How I came up with such brilliance!:
Well, I know it's not freakin' rocket science here, but it did make me chuckle.
I was born in Cuba in 1971, grew up in the "Revolution", lucky me. Anyways, I must have drawn this image of Che about a hundred times when I lived in Cuba, starting around age 3. It's everywhere, so it's what I drew, along with tanks, guns, and missiles, cause that's what was on t.v. there. American kids draw superheroes and cartoons instead. Che was my Mickey Mouse.

I figured after all this time, I could do one more drawing of Che, kind of coming full circle after having left Cuba and "making it" in Capitalist U.S. I thought maybe I had some license to mess with the image since it has so much to do with my biography. A lot of this was lost on people that don't know me I guess. But if one where to read the story inside you would have learned a lot about my background which helps put the image in some context.

How I came up with the idea:
My family that is still in Cuba just got access to the internet, e-mail, etc. They are just learning about these i-pods, tech gear, brands, etc. So I've started gettting e-mails from them requesting things like memory sticks, i-pods, things with brand names, etc. Years ago I would get letters from them asking for medicine or food. So, the idea that Cuba is slowly changing into a capitalist society is what came of this communication with my family back on the island. And this image was the result.

Another thing that has bugged me over the years is all these people with Che t-shirts and the whole Che cult. People that have no clue what a cold blooded killer Che was and how many people's lives were ruined by the Cuban revolution (Not well to do folks, but artists, musicians, poets, homosexuals, or anyone that had individual ideas and expressed them.)

So, people here in the U.S. that are all underground and hipster and "original" with the Che gear and that all wear the same brands and listen to their i-pods annoy me. They try to act all rebel and counterculture but they're all fitting in in their own way. I think this image worked for me as a criticism of such an attitude as well.

I am very well aware that doing anything with "Che" is the biggest cli-"Che" ever. I went ahead with it because I figured it would tick off some people and, if anyone knew me, they would realize that I just like to do that sometimes. I feel some designers, artists, etc. put up these rules, "oh you can't do that, gotta do it this way, must be super original always", it's a very American, western way to look at things. It's not the way I grew up making imagery, we take one thing, do something to it, do something to it again. Go to any country in Latin America and you'll see this kind of stuff, artists commenting on culture, on each other, a dialogue, which I think doesn't happen in the U.S. as much.

Well, that's it for now. I'm not much of a chat room person but I registered here, I'll check back and answer any questions you guys have. It's great to talk about art, design, type, very smart stuff. Not so crazy when the thing goes off the topic.

Oh, and the machine gun cat is just freakin' awesome.

Thanks for all the comments.


Eric_West's picture


It's nice to hear from the man himself! Thanks for taking the time to respond to our little amateur wrestling match.

Your work in your write-up is beautiful by-the-way.

I feel some designers, artists, etc. put up these rules, “oh you can’t do that, gotta do it this way, must be super original always”, it’s a very American, western way to look at things. It’s not the way I grew up making imagery, we take one thing, do something to it, do something to it again. Go to any country in Latin America and you’ll see this kind of stuff, artists commenting on culture, on each other, a dialogue, which I think doesn’t happen in the U.S. as much.

The cover makes more sense with your exposition. Thanks for taking the time to explain. My original post was a bit (just a little) of a knee-jerk reaction, but, in my own defense, I'm just out of school, and am trying to challenge myself to think more about design, instead of just concentrating on what it looks like.

It didn't seem to take long to (de)evolve into an ideological pile-up, and I admit, I havn't had a chance to read your article yet. But I will (especially now) after your response and the aforementioned Cuban American Pundits link. It's always good to have an insiders view of goings-on abroad.

Thx again,


fontplayer's picture

Totally bitchin! Welcome. many people’s lives were ruined by the Cuban revolution (Not well to do folks, but artists, musicians, poets, homosexuals, or anyone that had individual ideas and expressed them.

Thankfully my favorite trumpet player, Arturo Sandoval (probably the best all-around on the planet) was able to escape. I played trumpet professionally for a time, but unfortunately (for me) he often goes beyond what I can comprehend. Oddly, when I saw him at the local perfoming art center, his piano playing blew me completely away.

Oops, there I go branching off again.
; )

ER's picture

Hey, does anyone sense that cat boy is backing down, come on man, Bring It On!!

Well, anyways, glad I was able to clear some things up. As you can see from my work inside the magazine, the cover is not necessarily typical of what I do. It was me taking another road and commenting a bit. Inside there is something similar I guess, Mao in an Yves Saint Laurent tunic for a story on the New China for TIME magazine. Most of my work are portraits and musicians or theater drawings, plus some conceptual stuff.

Where I kind of wondered if you were a student or just "out of school" is when you mentioned in the original post that it might have made more sense without the i-pods and Nike logo. Then what do you have, Che? What does that say? nothing. You might need to go back to that school my man. Round 1: Señor Rodriguez. I kid, I kid.

Eric_West's picture

The only reason for that is that the image of Che is so synonymous WITH capitalism now, I had questioned the other two elements were necessary to convey the meaning. I think it would say loads, BECAUSE it was on the cover of CA and NOT on a fashion T, the target audience would understand.

Is that completely off base?

ebensorkin's picture

Nice Posts Edel! Cheers! I hope you stick around & give us the benefit of your perspective on things besides your cover too.

Eric, I think the audience of CA mostly needs and is interested in graphic messages that are 'powerful' ( bludeoning). CA is about mass communication! I can't blame them. And your idea strikes me as too subtle. Also, it assumes that the audience reads the 'Che' part of the image in the same way you do. So yes, I think you are off base. Sorry. Just my idea about it.

On the other hand I don't think the meaning of the cover is clear or precise despite it's strength. It can be read too many ways. That's not important to CA because it's a funny image & works with their theme so what it means precisely isn't important. It's strong! It's graphic! And sometimes having an image that can be read many ways is a good thing. It maintains it interest longer. Especially if it's that worn out Che again.

Regarding the meaning of the cover: Edel's explanation make 100% sense. However if you or I read the image a different way then that's valid too.

To me it just looks like an homage to strange power of brands.

RE: Not so crazy when the thing goes off the topic.

Where was that in your opinion? I still don't have the slightest idea where you would draw that line. Drawing the line at abuse is one thing ( It sounds like there has been some & thats bad ) but right now we have no working definition of a 'topic'. I am not clear getting one is a good idea at all.

hrant's picture

Yeah, American TV rocks. Everybody knows that.
Oh, and Typophile is a killer chatroom.


thierry blancpain's picture

i just wanted to write "i find it pretty cliché to use che on such a cover, it has been done a thousand times and most people wont understand anyway" - but there you go, all wrong.

thanks for your explanations, i gained interesting insight. i think its important to be able to cite in an intelligent way, but at the same time, using che is "wrong" in my view in nearly every case. but with your biography, its good.

fredo's picture

It isn't so much the art of communication if You need the story of the designers life to get it, is it?


fontplayer's picture

With 115 replies, it seems to have induced a lot of communication around here.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Doesn't this prove that without context, it is only art? I'll second the "thank yous" for sharing the story behind the cover.

lore's picture

Crumbs, the thread has been intercepted. Our cover is blown!

Edel, what can I say? I'm thrilled you joined the party and hope you stick around. So my theory of you having the image stashed somewhere was not true, was it? Come on, you can tell us. Nothing wrong about recycling stuff, you know. ; )

Tiffany: that's the idea, it's a magazine cover, not fine arts. But then again what's the difference between fine arts and graphic design? The patron?

PS: Why am I the only one to think the cat sucks? I can't stand it, Eric. I had to say that, please don't hate me! It's disturbing! I love cats!

ebensorkin's picture

RE: fine arts and graphic design? The patron?

It's only in the last hundred years that you could assert that I think. And not too strongly I would argue. The idea that a difference exists that is meaningful seems increasingly spurious to me. You can be as slavish or independant as you like in either field. There is nothing inherently pure obout fine arts & nothing inherently dirty about graphic design or applied arts.

RE: "only art".

What do you mean? Only that without context it's only decoration? Or do you mean that Edel's explanation is the *true* way of reading the image since thats what he says he intended? I don't mean to suggest that you intended either reading of your statement - just that I cannot tell what you mean. Kinda like Edel's cover. It can be taken so many ways.

RE: Killer chatroom

I laughed out loud. But in truth I have no idea what you mean for sure either.

It must be vague cloudy wispy language day today.


ER's picture

Well, I love cats too, and a cat with an uzi is just plain funny.

Let me try to answer some things here. Not a chat room pro so bear with me. I'll start from the last post.

No, I didn't have the image stashed somewhere. I actually haven't done anything with the straight Che image since I was a kid. This is why I thought, for a biographical story about me, my work, and another on Cuban design in the same issue, this image made sense. I have drawn Che posters in the background of drawings I did when I've traveled to Cuba to visit family, etc. Some of those have been published.

I think some of the problem is that people see the image on the site here and may not realize that it's meant to be seen, as Eric first saw it, at the Newsstand at Barnes and Noble or Borders or at a library. Or in your mailbox if you subscribe to CA. You look at it, makes you wonder what it's about, you look inside for a credit or info, and you might go ahead and read the inside stuff.

I think part of the problem is that the original question assumes that this image was done for a bunch of type and design geeks like ourselves that spend the weekend on a chatroom discussing the intricacies of serifs. I didn't do it for those folks alone.

When you start working for magazines you realize that what the publisher wants is their stories to be read and their magazines to be purchased by as large an audience as possible. So, I wanted Joe Schmo at the Barnes and Noble to be looking around and go "hey, it's Che, and i-pod, and nike", funny, what the hell is this, etc.

I like to communicate to a lot of different people. My dad never got past the sixth grade but there's nothing like the feeling when I show him something and he gets it, laughs, asks questions, etc. This is who the world is made up of, not type geeks. If if works for them too, then great, but I'm not going to shelf an image because the art police might come after me.

About Fredo's comment: I don't think you need my life story to "get it". I've had plenty of people e-mail or have a reaction without knowing much about me. And there was a lot of talk about it here before I came into the picture. I thought my info would just help people learn more about it.

I tried to give some info for anyone that looked at the magazine. On the contents page there is a title, caption and credit. It reads:

Cover: "Brand CAChé". "A wired Cuban generation seeks the status of our logo culture as we seek the rebel status of theirs"

With those few chosen words I tried to describe a couple of ways that the image can be read, which was my intent, for it to be read in several ways. I guess some people have trouble with that. My background is in Painting and fine art so reading something 100 ways is what I was taught to do.

One person that seems to be on the money on a lot of this is Eben Sorkin:

He says "To me it just looks like an homage to strange power of brands." Bingo, that's what I was after. That's why it's called "Brand CA-Ché" How they're all a brand, Che, i-pod, nike, even CA, and how people just get hypnotized by them. Ad agencies throw around the term "brand cache" all the time. How to make your brand sing, blah, blah. And when I go to Cuba, Che is treated the same way. The one place you think would honor him has him plastered on watches, cigars, lighters, on and on.

And on Eben's comment about going off topic, I meant the abusive stuff or things that I read 3 or 4 times and can't understand. I think this is a conversation, it should go all over the place, about music, tv, culture. I was just once on an illustrator's chat thing, there was a great intellectual subject at hand and somebody just came in and derailed the whole thing into a conversation about troubles he was having with his family. So, it got me off the chat rooms for a while. Rather be working instead.

thanks, Edel

lore's picture

I think Typophile is more than just a chatroom.

hrant's picture

> an uzi

I think you need to watch a lot more TV.

> This is who the world is made up of, not type geeks.

That's very true. Certainly any good designer (which is not at all the same thing as a good artist) knows that, and takes it to heart. But that doesn't mean a good designer should ignore his conscience outright, and it certainly doesn't mean a good person has to actually like what the deluded masses do. And certainly, there's way too much non-type talk on Typophile. In fact almost any other cover of any other magazine is worth discussing more than this, since it would probably have more type -and more interesting type- on it.


hrant's picture

Thank you, lore.
And Edel, wait 'till you see our Mondays.


ER's picture

I guess I have some respect for the "deluded masses". People like my parents that get their asses up everyday, go drive a truck or work at some sweatshop rather than sit in front of a mac and tickle type. I think they count, and they're not deluded.

And I don't think I've ignored my conscience. My conscience tells me to comment on this stuff that's in my head, and I can't do that without working with imagery that someone might think is just "unoriginal".

If you want to discuss "another cover, of any other magazine", how about this week's TIME. Sorry, no type on it. And it's great because it has no type, the "masses" will love it. E.R.

hrant's picture

Working hard doesn't equate to being deluded. In fact in most of
the world it's the other way around. Your parents don't read CA.

And when you see people working in a sweatshop, instead of blindly
applauding their grit you might instead look for the source of their
misery, and hopefully consider a world where their lives aren't
locked into making goddam Nike trainers for their masters.

BTW, I have no reason to believe you ignore your conscience.
Just don't look down on others who also don't, but arrive at
different conclusions and actions. Your TV is lying to you.

> And it’s great because it has no type, the “masses” will love it.

Time magazine sucks too.


ER's picture

Yes, my parents don't read CA. My freakin' point is that they or someone like them might be at a bookstore, see an image on a cover that connects with them, stop, read, look and learn something they might not know.

And don't give me any lectures on what I need to do about sweatshops. You don't know a damn thing about me, my family, how many hours they and I have put in at sweatshops making crap for you. I applaud their grit because they worked their ass off their whole lives, they're proud of their work and they'd do it all over again if they had to. Do you think people in Latin America go on about their "masters". I think you are deluded. They have a job, it feeds their family, they take pride in it. Do you actually know any of these people? I do.

I don't look down on anyone who disagrees with me or my work, I have no clue what you're talking about. My TV is lying to me? what is this?

And TIME magazine doesn't suck. If just saying things suck is what goes for dialogue around here then I might be heading out soon. I think hhp and I just don't have many things in common. Probably who I was trying to bug with my CA cover anyways.

I wish you wouldn't get all personal here but if that's where you want to go then I'm right there with you.


hrant's picture

I don't think we're using "sweatshop" in the same way. The people I'm talking about, which having traveled a good deal I know well enough, would kill to be you. As for Latin America, it's been leaning very strongly to the left for a few years now. Do you read the BBC? For anything besides Irish issues, it's really your best bet.

Or if you want a "design" perspective, get yourself some copies of the Argentine magazine tipoGrafica, where anti-imperialistic sentiment is firmly entwined in the content. Yes, we're different, not least because we listen to different people. I would simply urge you to consider who you're really listening to, backstage.

But really, as you said above, you think you've "made it". So I have to think that the only chance you have of changing your mind is via a person you trust personally. Clearly I cannot be that person. Which does not mean we should treat each other impersonally.


ER's picture

Well, I've traveled a good deal too. But traveling a good deal is not the same as living somewhere.

I think you lean left politically, and I believe a lot of your comments come from there. I respect that, I've had plenty of civil conversations with communists in Cuba, some in my own family.

I am not a right winger by far, I'm very liberal, I just think that there are so many apologists for communist tyrants. Tyranny is tyranny whether it's right or left wing. I know everything about what's going on in Latin America, don't need to check out the BBC. I'm Latin, I watch Spanish T.V., and read papers, left and right, it's all well covered. It's not being spoon fed to me, they present all sides, etc. And what's going on is more dicators taking over, through "democratic" means. Basically, Latin Americans are all freaked out by Bush so they're reacting to it and getting nationalistic. Now Chavez wants to be president for life in Venezuela, like Castro. I say to all leftists, what would you think of having Bush as president for life. Tyranny is tyranny, left or right.

I don't know who you think I "listen" to backstage. And this whole I "made it" thing was in "quotes" for a reason, it was tongue in cheek. But I do believe everyone in my family who has left Cuba has made it. I came by boat, my cousins have risked their lives on inner tubes for a week floating out at sea, some have died. Do you think this is a casual thing? It's the biggest decision we've had to make to leave our homeland, our grandparents, our sisters, our kids. And why have we left? Because it's suffocating to live there. I don't see Americans or Europeans getting on rafts to float somewhere else. Something must be right then. It's called freedom and opportunity, something that those born in free countries just take for granted all too often.

Thanks for the insightful comments. I look forward to treating one another with respect. You commie!

yes, that was a joke.


mb's picture

this exhibition at the v&a may be of some interest.

piccic's picture

I did not say I was annoyed by the use of an image which has become ubiquitous. My displeasement comes (and will always come) from what can be called a "scapegoat" syndrome. Evil acting is not partial, but this does not mean being "liberal" or addressing a problem by firing against a single individual solves anything. It leads only to a growing resentment.

Surely Edel was aiming his cover design to a specific audience, and he was addressing something he considered important. But what does it mean "an homage to strange power of brands"? If he's sure his criticism went through, then he succeeded. I'm not the qualified audience to understand this. I may know poverty as we had in Italy in the early 20th century (part of my grandfathers were farmers and very poor) but I barely know who Che Guevara was, so I think it's not essential I get this particular message.

Whatever message Edel cared about, the important is if it's received with an openly critical attitude by people who should get it. Visual suggestions rely largely on their context, but if a cliché helps, welcome.

lorp's picture

Interesting that even a reformed revolutionary isn't allowed into an exhibition of "Che as icon". Here's the Guardian's take on it: Sorry Gerry. You're just not the right sort for Che's V&A party.

Trisha Ziff, the curator of Che Guevara: revolutionary & icon at the Victoria & Albert Museum

... submitted her guest list, which included Mr Adams, a personal friend with whom she had worked on exhibitions in the past. She then received an email from Shaun Cole, acting head of the contemporary programme at the V&A, who told her all guests had been approved "except Gerry Adams, who is not relevant or appropriate". Ms Ziff, already unhappy that the museum had removed much of the text accompanying and explaining the images, which has now been posted on the website instead, said: "I was gobsmacked. Inviting Gerry was not a stunt and it never occurred to me there would be a problem."

She and Mr Adams wondered if Guevara would also have been barred, had he still been alive.

The explanation from the museum seemed to be that various fashion models had been invited to another exhibition opening at the same time, and one wouldn't want them bumping into the "irrelevant" and "inappropriate" Mr Adams.

Meanwhile the museum shop will be selling copies of all the featured Che images, a Che-branded lip balm, a Che finger puppet, a Che chocolate cigar, a Che doll, a Che cigar box, Che T-shirts, Che stickers, Che neon signs and Che badges. Whether Che's works Guerrilla Warfare, El socialismo y el hombre en Cuba and Critical Notes on Political Economy will be available at the shop is not currently known by this author.

Miss Tiffany's picture

My comment was meant not as any sort of criticism. Everything communicates, art or otherwise, you can't not communicate. Even without Mr. Rodriguez's explanation it reads as a statement about capitalism. However, given the explanation the context helps me now view it from his eyes.

hrant's picture

The first time I met Laurence, at the TypeCon98 "ice-breaker" party,
he was wearing a Che shirt. A real one. I didn't know who he was, but
I remember approaching him with a "nice shirt", and moving on, for
the moment. It's great to see the spirit is still alive, my friend.


piccic's picture

That's what I meant. I appreciate a lot Laurence's story.

I think this discussion validates what John Hudson tried to say when he questioned whether visual language can truly be considered "communication". All what we have read and wrote here seems to prove pictures 'per se' are precious but are not enough detailed to truly communicate concepts.
People seem to be always more prone to follow the easy route instead of considering the various facets of an historical fact by getting into it.

Paul Cutler's picture

Music and visual language communicate things that words can't.

I prefer the abstraction of those mediums…


dezcom's picture

I think many people have come to think of image as being more important than what it stands for. What matters too much to some is being chic. Are we becoming a more shallow world? Probably true for the more "sophisticated consumer"--after all, isn't a designer logo required to be prominently displayed on our clothing to be truly chic?. Real people who have real struggles each day for basic needs don't have this luxury.
There is type on things but mostly branding. Edel showed a Time magazine cover and said it had no type on it. We have become so accustomed to the icons of our modern era that we no-longer consider the letters T-I-M-E in succession as a word. Type and letter forms are also visual images. Communication happens either way. It rarely is the intended message though. That is why graphic design is much harder than it is given credit for (if done well). Perhaps if we consider that the job of a magazine cover is simply to get someone to open it instead of getting the total meaning of the written story, we can find a bit more success in what we see done every day but still strive to do more when given the chance.


hrant's picture

Paul, abstraction is actually why I prefer text faces to display ones.

On the other hand, I don't hold things like photography in
high regard, at least not in the way it's usually seen/used.


Paul Cutler's picture

When you say that about a text face are you referring to its primary goal being functionality?

Mediums for expression just are, it's the pieces that either resonate or not.

I love novels, but I have also thought much about the power of words.

Perhaps the pen wields the sword…


hrant's picture

I mean that the text font sphere is non-literal, subconscious.
That said, no font can be pure text or pure display.


ebensorkin's picture

Chris! Laurence, Sweet Posts.

Paul Cutler's picture

quote - I mean that the text font sphere is non-literal, subconscious.

Since text faces are addressing the subconscious it seems like an anthropological approach would make sense. Claude Levi-Strauss or perhaps Jung…

Does this make any sense?


hrant's picture

To me what seems to make most sense in the sphere of text face design
is to learn to let go: not to ignore what we [think we] know, but to come
to terms with the fact that A System Can Never Understand Itself, and
as a result that Control is largely illusional.


NigellaL's picture

"On the other hand, I don’t hold things like photography in
high regard, at least not in the way it’s usually seen/used."

Can you explain this a bit, please, Mr. hrant? Maybe i'm dim, but I don't think I see what you're getting at? What i've always loves about photographs is that there's often more there than the photographer can see when he or she takes the picture.

Paul Cutler's picture

Hrant - Are you actually trying to tell me it's a lot like life?


I can't believe it…


Paul Cutler's picture

The worst part of a capitalist society is that it makes you concentrate on results, instead of process.

But that can be avoided…


fredo's picture

That could also be seen as one obvious difference between design and art. The design must have a clear idea of what it wants, and it must work. A typeface is not interesting 'in theory' as much as in action. Art doesn't have to 'work' in that sense. But as Tiffany wrote, that doesn't mean it won't communicate.


piccic's picture

"Music and visual language communicate things that words can’t.
I prefer the abstraction of those mediums…"

Paul, I think you have not read the thread I mentioned. it's here:
It's not just an intellectual thing. In fact, I think both verbal and nonverbal have the power to obscurate or enlighten, they are means.
The discussion in that thread was about the possibility of communicating complex ideas.

It's emblematic you name music, since music seems a good example: while music per se can touch our deepest corners (in many ways), it's only in pop music elaborate ideas start to be conveyed through verbal language as well. This, depending on the use, can reinforce or weaken the emotional facet, but nonetheless lyrics articulate meaning, a thing which is not possible in classical or instrumental.

By saying this I'm not even remotely implying analytical thought is, or should be considered something superior to mythic, symbolic or poetic one. In fact, poetry could be the best example: it's part of "the arts", but according on how you use it, you could convey meaning the most effectively, because you can be partly analytical as well.
In the end, it's all about a "common language", a language of communion.

Paul Cutler's picture

I see no difference between design or art or music and life itself.

I love Hrant's last comment, what is true when he stares into the microcosm of a text face is true everythwere. That is the power of microcosmic observation. All of sudden a text face becomes alchemic.

No offense, but I find the theories on this board more interesting than the typefaces themselves. I am interested in journeys.

I am paranoid about words, yet my tongue is not still…


ER's picture

Well, glad this image was able to create this long, strange trip. Nice ideas, some fly right on over my head, but, you know, not a type "expert" over here. As Sorkin says it gets "real vague cloudy wispy language" around here sometimes. Did you know there's a whole other group redesigning existing ampersands! That's real passion! Typophile is the perfect title for this place, it's fun.

So, I hate to bring it back to the real world. I have a question that I've always wondered about since college, when all my professors were 60's, Che lovin', hippies. The question is, how does a designer, whose passion is to communicate and to do that freely, square those beliefs with the support of Che, the Cuban Revolution, Castro, etc., who stay in power through outright censorship, control of the media, propaganda, etc. And don't tell me that the West does the same thing, and that I just don't know it. That's the canned answer.

Regardless of what the west does, how can a designer who thrives on the free flow of ideas, such as the one's in this post, support a dictatorship with such passion. Maybe hrant or the fellow with the Che shirt can help me out. This is not a post about type, I know, but the group is subtitled "anything goes". If you'd like to talk ampersands, well, you know where to go.

thanks, Edel

hrant's picture

> That’s the canned answer.

Well then it seems that first you'd need to open your mind. There are so many things that confuse your simplistic take on "communication". Complex, paradoxical, human things like the benefits of freedom from choice, the nefarious origins of free compulsory public education, the succubus that is free speech, that throw any western moral minimalism straight out the window in the mind of any free-thinking human being.

Here's a clue from my end though: I'm not a commie, I'm a monarchist.


If you find the time, and would like the perspective of a generally highly-regarded type designer, please read Eric Gill's (short) "Essay on Typography". Gill was very concerned with the dignity of man, as opposed to how fast he can chow down how many pizzas while watching how many football games.

To paraphrase the Roman Senate: Give them pizza, and give them
football, and they will not revolt. And this empire is imploding too.


Syndicate content Syndicate content