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AA Bronson’s House of Shame

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Feb 10th, 2022. Artwork published in .
    Front cover
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Front cover

    AA Bronson’s House of Shame brings together AA Bronson’s work from recent years, emphasizing the social dimension of his collaborative artistic practice. Edited by Vincent Simon, it was published by Edition Patrick Frey. Berlin-based designer Fritz Grögel provided the book design. He kindly lets us in on his concept and typeface choices.

    AA Bronson’s queer and spiritual art is rarely pleasing and sometimes provocative. It touches on social taboos such as homosexuality, age and death, and deals with supernatural and irrational aspects of life that are not in vogue in our secular, rational modern age. For some viewers, it may seem like a freak show at first glance. For Fritz, this was precisely the starting point for the book design: to present the “House of Shame” in the style of 19th century fairs, where people who did not conform to the norm were put on display.

    He built this concept around various display typefaces by Andreas Seidel of Astype: the Block-like Wood Heinz No.2 and No.4, the slab-serif Wood Poster Eight, and the narrow siblings Wood Bonnet Grotesque No.4 and Antique No.7 are all excellent digital interpretations of old wood type fonts. Most of them come with “worn” alternates that help emulate an authentic printed look. These wood type revivals were used to structure the large sections of the book.

    For the few longform texts, Christoph Dunst’s Novel (Atlas Font Foundry) is used, described by the designer as “a warm oldstyle roman that offers all the bells and whistles for fine, bibliophile typographic work”. Captions are set in Albert-Jan Pool’s FF DIN, for Fritz “the classic choice of typographic restraint”. Especially when combined with some of the “wild” images, it establishes a clear distance. In the appendix, Novel and DIN are used together, in a differentiating manner.

    The format and layout of AA Bronson’s House of Shame aim to be unpretentious yet of high quality. Instead of doing a coffee table book, Fritz opted for a medium format that can be viewed on the train. Glossy finishing and lamination were deliberately avoided; the flattering haptics of the predominantly open papers should speak for itself. The outcome is an arresting publication that makes me want to learn more about AA Bronson and his work.

    Half-title page
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Half-title page

    Title page with a combination of , , and , all in caps. The superscript and underlined “OF” was made using the Wood Heinz Deco Caps, referencing  as they were common in the Victorian era. The superscript o in “№” is part of the numero glyph as included in Wood Heinz.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Title page with a combination of Wood Bonnet Grotesque No.4, Wood Heinz No.4, and Wood Poster Eight, all in caps. The superscript and underlined “OF” was made using the Wood Heinz Deco Caps, referencing catchwords as they were common in the Victorian era. The superscript o in “№” is part of the numero glyph as included in Wood Heinz.

    Extended title page with a list of contributors, set  in various wood type styles.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Extended title page with a list of contributors, set stacked and justified in various wood type styles.

    Opening spread of Vincent Simon’s foreword, with the author’s name set in Wood Heinz Deco Caps
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Opening spread of Vincent Simon’s foreword, with the author’s name set in Wood Heinz Deco Caps

     for the heading is contrasted with the calm  for body copy, featuring its compact and only slightly inclined italics.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Wood Heinz No.2 for the heading is contrasted with the calm Novel for body copy, featuring its compact and only slightly inclined italics.

    Table of contents
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Table of contents

    Chapter opening featuring  with a stray O from .
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Chapter opening featuring Wood Poster Eight with a stray O from Wood Bonnet Grotesque No.4.

    Unlike the foreword, Paul Clinton’s essay is set justified, with indents to mark paragraph beginnings.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Unlike the foreword, Paul Clinton’s essay is set justified, with indents to mark paragraph beginnings.

    The running title is added on left pages, set in a rotated line of all-caps .
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The running title is added on left pages, set in a rotated line of all-caps FF DIN.

    The text is sandwiched by two halves of an exhibition view of We Are the Revolution (2011).
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The text is sandwiched by two halves of an exhibition view of We Are the Revolution (2011).

    Chapter opening featuring
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Chapter opening featuring Wood Bonnet Grotesque No.4

    “Clean” versions of the wood type fonts are used for chapter headings, bridging the gap to the content.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    “Clean” versions of the wood type fonts are used for chapter headings, bridging the gap to the content.

    Fritz notes that a major challenge lay in the visuals, which came from many different sources and ranged in quality from perfect gallery shots to blurry cell phone images.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Fritz notes that a major challenge lay in the visuals, which came from many different sources and ranged in quality from perfect gallery shots to blurry cell phone images.

    AA Bronson’s House of Shame 15
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.
    It was important to the artist to focus more on those images that show the artists and visitors interacting during the performances. The image formats in the book are hence diverse. The crucial thing was to always pursue a kind of visual storytelling that would allow the reader to immerse in the exhibition spaces while sitting on the sofa.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    It was important to the artist to focus more on those images that show the artists and visitors interacting during the performances. The image formats in the book are hence diverse. The crucial thing was to always pursue a kind of visual storytelling that would allow the reader to immerse in the exhibition spaces while sitting on the sofa.

    This chapter opening switches around the typefaces previously seen for “Asshole”.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    This chapter opening switches around the typefaces previously seen for “Asshole”.

    In the interview conducted by Frédéric Bonnet, questions are highlighted by Novel’s Bold Italic.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    In the interview conducted by Frédéric Bonnet, questions are highlighted by Novel’s Bold Italic.

    A smaller size of Novel is used for footnotes.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    A smaller size of Novel is used for footnotes.

    Caps from  with lowercase letters from
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Caps from Wood Bonnet Antique No.7 with lowercase letters from Wood Bonnet Grotesque No.4

    In the second, choral part, friends bear witness in a kind of logbook, reflecting on the five-year history of the artist community. These text contributions (here the one by Bradford Kessler) are set ragged right.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    In the second, choral part, friends bear witness in a kind of logbook, reflecting on the five-year history of the artist community. These text contributions (here the one by Bradford Kessler) are set ragged right.

    The appendices are introduced by a typographic block that echoes the title page.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The appendices are introduced by a typographic block that echoes the title page.

    Each line is set in another of Andreas Seidel’s wood type revivals.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Each line is set in another of Andreas Seidel’s wood type revivals.

    Appendix: artists & contributors
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Appendix: artists & contributors

    Appendix: illustrations
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Appendix: illustrations

    Novel and DIN are used in various styles to differentiate the various text elements.
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Novel and DIN are used in various styles to differentiate the various text elements.

    Colophon
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Colophon

    Back cover
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Back cover

    AA Bronson’s House of Shame 29
    Fritz Grögel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Typefaces

    • Novel
    • Wood Heinz No.2
    • Wood Heinz No.4
    • Wood Poster Eight
    • Wood Bonnet Grotesque No.4
    • Wood Bonnet Antique No.7
    • FF DIN

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