Posts Tagged ‘posters’

Iranian Typography

Monday, February 21st, 2011

A recent posting on the imprint: EXPANDING THE DESIGN CONVERSATION blog calls our attention to a new book on Iranian typography. As a designer practicing in the United States, it’s often easy to forget about opportunities provided by letterforms different than the ones we use every day. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to see some posters—I believe from Iran, as well—at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Mills Gallery. Some of these took advantage of the idea of type as object—certainly not unfamiliar to audiences here—but with the calligraphic feel of the Persian characters, the effect was often profoundly different.

The catalog is the result of a relationship between Iranian designers and the Basel School of Design, showing 50 years of logo design and posters from the Iran. That’s a lot of history, especially when you consider that the first examples come from a very different world—one in which the country was under the rule of the Shah and much more connected to interests in the West. Looks like this book is worth a good look. More information from the publisher is here. Copies can be ordered from Amazon here.

Mark Bradford at the Institute of Contemporary Art

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Mark Bradford at the Institute of Contemporary Art,
Boston, Nov. 19, 2010—March 13, 2011

In text found on the ICA website, 2009 MacArthur Fellow Bradford is said to explore “issues of class, race, and gender in American urban society.” That may be true, but those issues are only the starting point for works which are ultimately a feast for the retina. At the end of the day, formal concerns which include surface texture, color, and edge are what make his best work successful.

His layering of found paper, such as commercially printed posters and billboards—and the use of string to draw dimensionally—provide a wonderfully mysterious surface which he partially excavates and covers with sanding, painting and collaging. Organizationally many of the large works in the show resemble maps or overhead shots of cities, but this aspect of the work is not really a key to understanding what’s going on. Rather, it is color, the dimensionality of the surface, and the partially revealed shapes which animate the surface—in this, he is an artist with very traditional concerns. That said, this a show you should not miss.