Every year, Typographia Longinotti publishes a selection of experimental works on typography by graphic design undergraduates. The 2016 edition is called Typogramas: photographs of the word, and showcases one of the many projects developed over the two-semester typography class at the University of Buenos Aires. This brief yet energetic book, printed in five inks, includes over 170 photo-typographic works and visual explorations by graphic design students from Buenos Aires.
Typography Longinotti is a space of work and design thinking from and about typography, within the Graphic Design career at the University of Buenos Aires. Regarding this, the works developed show the various aspects determined by typography and the variety of formats, genres, and media related to it. Among them, the relations between typography and photography, between word and image, for short, were the axis of the 2016 project work published in this book as a testimony of several years of research in this field.
The idea underlying this project was to stage the expressive, perceptive and symbolic potential of the visual word featured not as bidimensional prints but as three-dimensional or laminar objects, opaque, translucent or transparent, chromatic or achromatic, material (made of something) or ‘immaterial’ (shadows, self-reflections, refractions), rendered through the photographic device. The ultimate goal of Typogramas is to reveal something that might seem contradictory: the idea of a word that is essentially an image — as “percept” and artifact — and that of an image that is culturally a word — both as a verbal statement and as a convention.
Typogramas’ cover is conceptually linked to the book’s theme: light and volume and their strong interactions with typography; Jonathan Hoefler’s Odeon Condensed was used, reshaped to resemble nineteenth and twentieth century three-dimensional lettering. Ageometrization of the letter ‘O’ was made in order to emphasize the dual character of the title: typo, for typography, and gram, for recorded in a fast way (like a telegram, or an aerogram) — an art deco-like gesture, as it were. The idea of layers, of photographic filters, was translated to the cover’s design and rendered as two separate elements: the cover itself and the dust jacket, printed in tracing paper. Each, independent design components in themselves, only achieve full meaning when laid one onto the other. By so doing, the title, otherwise illegible, can be read.
Verbal language cannot be separated from visual language any longer. Our culture presents new relations and reconciliations as modern challenges between the verbal and visual worlds, probably demonstrating that they have always been the two sides of the same coin. Granting that A picture is worth a thousand words has hardly ever been entirely true, we can now postulate that one word (or expression) projects itself in a thousand images, in as much as the many meanings as the many readings we may have of it; the design of the word and its interpretations, in the end.