Some of these typographic expressions are little
more than fortune cookie exhortations. “Everyone Must
Take Time to Sit and Watch the Leaves Turn” (page 166)
has a greeting card cadence—and looks that way too.
“Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” (page 195) dug into
the soil of a ﬁeld and photographed from above, has
the cookie sentiment but a more raw appearance.
Conversely, “Hurry Up” (page 173), composed of huge
bones hanging in a gallery space, or “Fail Harder”
(page 181), painted on a large canvas in white on gray,
have a more world-weary tone.
Universal expressions often begin as personal ones.
Stefan Sagmeister’s “Conﬁdence Produces Fine Results”
(page 176), a typographic installation made of green and
yellow bananas that turn brown as they ripen, obliterating
the message, offers a low-impact, decidedly self-interpretive
message with resonance for many who receive it.
This manner of personal expression has also been
co-opted by advertisers to sell a product. The billboard
for Levi’s (page 180), composed of three rows each with
nine moving gears, with fragments of letterforms, which
when lined up says “We Are All Workers,” is a clever
way of presenting a mystery and providing a “reveal,” in
the form of an empirical statement. We Are All Workers
seems to imply that we are all in this (whatever this is)
together and Levi’s is the glue.
In terms of beauty, many of the expressions in this
section are rendered with pristine elegance. “Conscience”
(page 178) is written with dew drops on a leaf, “People” is
formed by costumed Korean dancers holding semicircular
fans, and “Good” and “Great” (page 179) are formed by
red and yellow apples held up high by a procession of
attractive girls dressed in white lace tops and golden
skirts. Yet the most striking for its aesthetic richness and
cultural signiﬁcance is “Depends on Each Person” (page
178) designed as a wedding day henna tattoo on the
hand of a young woman.
Expression in this typographic format will rarely be
too lengthy. Too many words spoil the rhythm (and it
is pedantic, too). The most effective are epigrams that
read quickly yet linger in the consciousness. “You Don’t
Matter” (page 183), a sequence of expressive letterforms,
is among the most haunting. But “Grow” (page 194),
written in script made from moss, eloquently says it all.
stop, think, go, do