How does typography behave under extreme conditions? It’s a question that fundamentally underpins Slanted’s new book, Teasing Typography. Edited and designed by Juliane Nöst, the recently published compendium explores what happens to type when it undergoes a variety of phenomenons. What happens when you push type through extreme grids for example? At what point does text become something else? A graphic element perhaps or a grey surface, or static noise or just plain pattern?
Released last month, the 500-page book provides an insight into what might happen when typography is teased. Juliane tells us more about how this project came about in the first place: “The idea developed during a stressful phase where I had lots of projects ongoing (at uni and at work).” During this time, she didn’t have much creative freedom which left her feeling frustrated and, with time, she observed an increasing want “to do something more free and unconventional.” Around the same time, she attended a university module which revolved around a free book project, “which was perfect,” recalls the designer.
This led Juliane to embark on a number of typographic experiments where she let the text embark on a life of its own as it flowed over pages and dummy texts. She started out with InDesign’s default settings – Minion Pro at point size 12, automatic line-height and left-aligned – then added more columns to the page. As she added the columns, the digital page started doing some weird but interesting things, creating extreme results in turn. Then she experimented with font size, line-height, the font itself and dummy text, editing the experiments in Photoshop to enhance certain structures or graphic elements even more. She also played with layering the varying texts on top of each other to provoke further visual phenomenons and behaviours. This was, “again, a lot of fun,” says Juliane.
Quickly, the designer began to amass a torrent of typographic results, “overwhelming,” she says looking back. Pleased with the results and the fun process along the way, Lars Harmsen, co-founder of Slanted along with Julia Kahl, was supervising Juliane’s class at the time advising the student to structure and frame her results for a more edited result. “And that’s exactly what I did,” says Juliane, whittling down her number of experiments into the 500-page volume of what we can now see in Teasing Typography. Despite being pretty long as far as books go, these 500 pages mark only a small glimpse of what Juliane created for the project; a carefully curated portion of her findings.