This is the complete text for the preface:
Here I am writing the preface for a book the first time. Probably you all know what it feels like to do things for the first time. It feels quite awkward. Especially for me – tending to be very strict against myself.
I decided when I found out I should be doing this, to tell you the story of how I got to do this.
One day I received an email from Artpower – the editor – of this series of books asking me to send some work of mine about typography design. The first thought I had when I received this was: o god- me? This is something that completely misses out on what I do. I create ornaments. I do illustrations. Why the hell is it me who is asked to accomplish such a task?
On thinking about it I decided to filter my work and see where typography had played a role and indeed I found out that typography is important in my work. It has always been. I have always been into illustration and also have been interested in thinking about objects in a different way. How to change the meaning of everyday objects by giving them a strange title.
Or thinking of a strange title and then inventing a new shape for an object to fit the title. So in this way words came into the game. And still: my designs don’t work if the titles are not understood.
I developed my illustration skills and discovered ornaments because this most flattered my interests and my style. In this way I had the chance to put my titels and the words that suited the objects right onto them so that the customer would understand the context just by looking at the objects.
I must admit that being a very “flow” type of person my illustration style has always been more or less the way it is now. It’s like a machine: you sit down and turn on. I sit with the pen in the hand and with an objective or aim and I just “DO”. It’s like being turned off or on.
So my illustration skill just went into the typography style. I drew words as though I was drawing ornaments only that my handwriting style also came into this a bit.
My whole way of approaching type is spontaneous and fluid and not very “high tech”. So when I think of myself I ould say I am definitely very far from being an expert in typography. Yet here I am trying to write a preface to a book where (number of designers) and I have participated due to the call by Artpower.
Anyway first I would like to talk a little bit about how I work currently in respect to typography design and then I would like to shortly reflect upon wht I see others are doing in this book.
It took me ages to find out I was interested in patterns and ornaments. How I found out?
I had always drawn peope and things without backgrounds. They were always on white.
When I started to illustrate as a profession I researched into others people’s works and saw that I was most inspired by styles that would “flatter” my own style of drawing. The more I got into this research the more I knew I was attracted by old ornaments: roses, colourful kimonos, etc. I now think that there are shapes that attract the eye in a way we cannot resist. Beauty draws people in and to some becomes something like a physical need.
I think what is essentialy so interesting about typography is that it makes obvious what otherwise is not obvious: that we as designers can make a difference to the world with “little effort”. Just by applying an idea or a creative spark (something that is very cheap – and already present in our minds) to something as simple as lettering or type we make visible that things don’t necessarily have to be the way they are.
Letters are symbols that we are confronted with and made to “learn by heart” since our early childhood. When we are young we are taught the exact way to shape letters. We are taught where the pen has to go when you start each letter and where it has to finish. We are taught to practise this and to repeat the right way over and over again. In our school years writing nicely and as to a standard confirmation of rules is a way to show that we adhere to the rules. The neatness of writing becomes a way to show our effort and how much we strive to obey. To show that we care.
Later in life some of us become designers perhaps because we were very good at writing neatly or drawing perfect symbols/letters/codes/meanings or maybe because we rebelled against this conformity but surely because in us there was a special spark creating ideas about how to do things differently.
What fascinates me most when I flip throught the pages of this book is that typography design is another way to demonstrate that design is about changing perspective. And when changing perspective leads to changed action essentially we can feel that with everything we do we change the world.
The world is created as a result of individual actions. Small change leads to big change.
Examples in the book go well beyond what is traditionally thought as typography design, i.e. the shaping of letters. This book aims to bring them together to create broader levels of understanding of how small changes can influence our perception.
This book should lead to evaluation, inquiry and discussion of the concept of typography design. It is a place to bring examples of completely new perspectives. We strongly encourage that you interact with the content of the book, as the publishers do not intend to tell you what typography design is, rather create a space for discussion. And a possibility to make a change.READ MORE