4.20.2010

Woodsy words, and then some

I was inspired by the masterfully twiggy rusticity of the lettering in my earlier post to find some (digital) bucolic beauties. Alas, this quick typographical sampler is neither all beautiful, nor strictly all pastoral— and nothing can compare to custom, hand drawn type, which is what was on that sheet music cover. Still, I'm sure readers will have some suggestions to add here?
arborette, a 19th century type digitized by Dan X Solo, had leaf ornamentation separate from the letters which could be combined to form decorative borders.

Logger by David Rakowski, 1993. Its woody but strictly knotty pine cabin and not at all rustic faux bois... Not the right tone for our Edenic idyll, but there it is.

The very elegant Restraint by Marian Bantjes, 2007, has multiple tendril ornaments that can be combined, in the manner of 19th century types, to create borders and cartouches. A bit lacy, a bit creepy.

Gretel by Sylvia Janssen, Daniel Janssen, 1962, (Published by Fountain) is not pastoral at all. It's based on cross stitching and embroidered samplers, but it has a flowery air about it if used judiciously.
 Egret by Device, 2004, is an odd hybrid—sans serif with sprigs—a sort of techno-floral. I see a lot of potential here.

Guede by David Nalle, 1993, free. I know I have seen something very much like this somewhere vintage 1950s, but I've not been able to track anything down again. It seems to spring from the scratchy, jittery line art of Ben Shahn and Saul Steinberg. Its rather fabulous but can be difficult to read.

4 comments:

ramona said...

These are fun, especially the cross stitch. The 'Guede' font though... it's beautiful but 'guede' or 'gede' are part of the hierarchy of voodoo spirits and the designs are based on the intricate veves that are symbols of the loa. I used to want one as a tattoo, because the design is so delicate and unique, but I got a little freaked out at the thought of playing with symbols to which I had no claim of belief or custom. It felt somehow disrespectful, but maybe I was just being an overly superstitious scot. I'd love to hear your take on this!

angela said...

Thanks for yr comment ramona. I know-- when I looked to find out more about the Guede typeface I saw the voodoo reference, which was a surprise. I agree with you up to a point about "playing with" the symbols--but not in a superstitious way. If designs use imagery or terminology out of context and show no comprehension for the original, I think thats terrible. And I can understand simply from a cultural standpoint it might be a bit questionable to use others' religious imagery just because its "pretty." But if its a respectful, intelligent reference I dont see harm.

ramona said...

Oof. I know what you mean, and I am never superstitious as a rule, which is why I was bemused by my own reaction to veves. I am not a designer so this is probably obvious 101 to you, but thinking further, doesn't the power of symbols lie in the images they call to the viewers' mind? They are representatives. So maybe some (a swastika, the obvious example for many) are irrevocably laden with cultural associations, and your reaction to them depends on what you associate them with. I found out about veves after reading a book on the grim history of the French in Haiti and the revolution there. It is always a question of context, isn't it?

Enough babbling and thinking aloud from a dilettante: I stumbled across your blog while wandering after a trace of Robert Warner. Add me to your list of Official Fans and Regular Readers. I'm looking forward to reading my way through the archives too.

angela said...

you're right that cultural associations skew how we see symbols. The swastika was originally an Indian (India) luck symbol I think.

What were you wandering after for Robert? He'd love to know someone was looking for him!

You are very kind--exciting to have a fan! Where's your blog/online repository?

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