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38 NEW MASTERS OF POSTER DESIGN
If the description sounds dry, then you had better look at the work
again. It has garnered awards from as far away as New York
and Japan. Drawn to the “high sex appeal of the poster, which
I consider somewhere between graphic design and art,” Ezer
makes viewers question everything they thought they knew
about type in an amazingly sophisticated yet direct manner.
For his NPI projects, Ezer structures his work with three rules:
He always uses low-budget, everyday materials; he always
works by hand; and he uses color only when necessary.
His goal is to speak about form, and his need to work by hand
is likely a reaction to using the computer for commercial design.
“By the time I am working on these pieces I am fed up with
the computer from my other work. I feel like there are more
possibilities when I work with my hands.
HONESTY
“When designing my posters, I see myself as someone who
uses his abilities to change and reshape the visual appearance
of our environment in a way that will reflect the reality instead
of hiding it. I see this not only as a visual or professional act but
also a political one,” says Ezer. What he strives for most is honesty.
At the end of the day, honesty is all he really wants from design.
It is what he believes a posters success hinges on. Striving
for honesty, he draws on a “variety of contemporary fields,
such as architecture, music, science, and the philosophies of our
time. As an Israeli, I am, of course, influenced by the cultural,
national, and political environment of my country.” A student
of design, he has learned a great deal from the masters, but he is
also doing everything he can to be a trailblazer in his own right.
HOW DO LETTERS LOOK?
If some of this comes across as intellectual and serious—well,
it is. But it is also a very human exercise. Ezer explains,
As a designer, I feel deeply obligated to make an impact on my
community by pushing the borders of Hebrew typography and
graphic design in order to create a new pluralistic environment.
As a matter of fact, I give it the utmost priority, and this was the
main reason I engaged in the profession.” His dedication cannot
be questioned when you view his tiny handmade sculptures of
type forms, sometimes as small as 2 inches (5 cm), manipulated
into dancing for the camera.
This sense of exploration keeps Ezer challenged. “Some of the
questions I often ask myself while creating are: How does
typography behave in different situations? What do letters do when
they are happy? How do they look when they are shy? How will
a letter act when it is slapped or kissed? How will typographic
design look in ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred years? What are the
borders of readability, on the one hand, and typographic expres-
siveness, on the other? How can one use the tension between
literal meaning and visual meaning in typographic work?”
When you hear his communication with his typographic children
and see the results of the interplay, the passion as well as the innate
artistic ability comes shining through. Somehow it seems
appropriate that he showcase these tiny sculptures in such
a larger than life format.
“I feel like there are more possibilities when I work with my hands.”
ODED EZER
GIVATAYIM, ISRAEL
WHAT IS A TYPOGRAPHER DOING IN HERE?
Oded Ezer is somewhat of an anomaly for this book because he is primarily a typographer.
He is at the forward edge of Hebrew type design and now leads a small movement
concerned with three-dimensional typography in Israel. This passion for type has found
him at an odd destination—the poster. Each year he works on an ongoing project:
the Nonprofit Item Project, or NPI, as I call it,” he says. “I use these posters as a platform
to disseminate my conclusions and suggestions for typographical design.
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