Typical typography books follow a format designers could probably navigate in their sleep. There’s an impressive intro from a well-known designer, a developed thesis or reason for the following selection, and by the end, one might even be convinced this is the future (if only of graphic design). Function, Restraint, and Subversion in Typography, however, is no typical typography book.
This book is no counterfeit watershed, no tired and self-serving synthesis, no declaration of the state of graphic design today. Instead, it is one of the many states of graphic design today. It’s a back-to-basics, black-coffee, shot-of-whisky approach to type. Nothing is added that might detract from the message. Perhaps not surprisingly, 90 percent of the projects were not created for the louder-faster-brighter world of advertising. What’s inside is “culture”—designs for museums and art galleries, independent bookstores, schools, and art projects. Author J. Namdev Hardisty’s striking survey offers clarity, brevity, and wit through discernable isms: brutalism, modernism, and minimalism. But please, don’t label it.
In the end, this book is simple. That is what makes it so extraordinary.
Featured designers include: A Practice For Everyday Life, Browns, Anthony Burrill, Daniel Eatock, Xavier Encinas, Experimental Jetset, Graphic Thought Facility, Hey-Ho, Hudson-Powell, Zak Kyes, MGMT., Mike Mills, Rune Mortenson, Neue, Project Projects, Manuel Raeder, Research and Development, Matthew Rezac, SEA, Spin, Studio Temp, Walker Art Center, John Wiese, and YES.
J. Namdev Hardisty is a co-founder of The MVA, through which he has worked on print, web, and signage projects for a variety of clients, including Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, The Weisman Art Museum, and Analog Clothing. Hardisty’s work is featured in Over & Over: A Catalog of Hand-Drawn Patterns and Hand Job: A Catalogue of Type, both published by Princeton Architectural Press. He is the author and designer of New Skateboard Graphics (2009). He received his BFA in Graphic Design from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2003.
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