Re-contextualizing type - alternate histories.

delusion's picture

I was playing around with type and decided to take some historic documents and images outside their original context by changing the typography. This was just something to amuse myself, so the images are not intended to be faux-forgery quality.

I figured I'd post it here as someone here might actually enjoy it.

A pair of thumbnails here, more on the blog post itself.

Theunis de Jong's picture

A nice idea, but why is this bible page suffering from No-Hyphenation? Gutenberg got it right -- a narrow column justifies correct hyphenation.

delusion's picture

I tried it with hyphenation first. It would have been more efficient per line and required a larger type to end on the same word as Gutenberg's, and I didn't like it as much at that larger size. If I had had access to the full text of it as-hyphenated, I probably would have tried harder to make that work, but as I said, I was actually quite surprised and disappointed to find out that one of the most famous books ever written doesn't have a text-only version anywhere I could find. I can find the Vulgate generally, but not the Gutenberg text as-written and as-hyphenated. Transcribing it myself wasn't an option, as my Latin isn't strong enough (understatement), nor my ability to parse some of the more peculiar features of 15th century blackletter, particularly abbreviations.

I certainly wasn't trying to correct (or even improve!) on Gutenberg. I merely wanted to turn it into a historically anachronistic version.

I was more happy with the Vogue Paris cover, but it risks seeming political, which wasn't my intent.

hrant's picture

Interesting idea. I just don't understand why you didn't use Comic Sans.


Theunis de Jong's picture

Hrant, that's explained in the full blog post.

I must admit it's ... unsettling, perhaps ... to see iconic, or at least immediately recognizable, text in what "obviously" is the wrong font. Perhaps it's only "obviously wrong" because this does not concern just the font, but the image-as-a-whole.

Imagine the Vogue cover, for example, not in full color but in black-and-white. (And also slightly different make up & hair-do for the lady.) That will make it look like a period cover -- and we all know what period I mean as well. But instead we see it in a clearly modern context, with bar code and all.

Nick Shinn's picture

The Darwin resetting is somewhat different than the others, as “Helvetica Regular all caps” was readily available at the time.

oldnick's picture

Like a great many imaginative exercises—such as mash-ups, remixes, Back to the Future or Cowboys and Aliens—the end result is more likely to be amusement rather than enlightenment. Which is fine: there's probably a bigger audience for Harlequin Romances than for, say, novels by William Faulkner.

delusion's picture

Origin of the Species was 1859, Akzidenz-Grotesk was 1896, and Helvetica was 1957.

There were definitely similar grotesques Origin could have been printed in (or more likely, titled in), but given most designers' familiarity with Helvetica's notable peculiarities, as well as other fans of typography, most of the then-existing sans types would appear slightly different to us.

Nick Shinn's picture

Of course. All present-day versions of 1850s types are changed from their originals.
That’s why I put quote marks around my font attribution.
But within the context of all the other reworkings, the Darwin exercise is quite different, involving no anachronism in type style, only the means of reproduction.
The typeface of the reset Darwin title page would not have looked alien in 1859, other than by deviating from the convention that such types would not be used for title pages, only in ads such as this.

delusion's picture

That's a fantastic advertisement, it captures typographic conventions I rarely saw "in the wild" in contemporary work until the style started re-appearing in retro re-creations in the last decade or so.

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