Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why Not Associates

It seems like, as of late, there have been some prevalent trends in typography... hand done script is in, faking texture with photoshop is in, laying out quotes with complimentary typefaces is in... etc. I'm personally feeling a little bit jaded by all of this. I mean, those trends are definitely cool, but I am really more inspired by a completely cohesive design concept, where the product isn't all about bells and whistles, and is more about communicating something bigger than the sum of its parts. I tend to gravitate towards cleanliness and conceptually driven works with emphasis on function over aesthetic fluff.

Anyway, the point of this rant is that I actually found a design firm that seems to do just what I have described! Their name is Why Not Associates, and if you don't already know them, ya should pay attention.

Why Not Associates was founded by two students from the Royal College of Art in London, Andy Altmann and David Ellis, in the mid 1980s. Since their beginning, their company has evolved from a primarily typographic focus to include large installations including several forms of media, print work, identity, video, and public works even commissioned by the British government. Their work seems boundless in media, style, clientele, and just about every other facet imaginable in the field of design. Despite their amazing breadth of work that spans just about every kind of media/design approach imaginable, WNA seems to always nail it on the head with a clean hit. They have a lot of work that is not extremely type heavy, but I'm going to focus on showing you the work of theirs that uses type in a really innovative way:

In this piece, the concept of partially covering the narrated words spoken visually communicated censorship in a really powerful way.

One of my favorite pieces by WNA is their "A Flock of Words" piece... One of Why Not Associates biggest projects, and perhaps their most well known, is a public piece in the small English coastal resort of Morecambe. Lead by Gordon Young in 1992, the piece was created to physically and spiritually re-imagine a resort town and set it apart from surrounding resort towns on the coast. It was constructed from granite, steel, concrete, brass and bronze; a materials list that is a true testament to WNA’s ambition as a graphic design firm and willingness to collaborate. WNA worked with a landscape architect, engineers, builders, and steel and stone workers to see the project to its finish. The result of the commissioned project is a three hundred meter typographic pavement with the text taken from any reference to birds; the birds were a subject chosen for their symbolic meaning to Morecambe bay, which is known for its abundant bird life. The text was taken from poetry, prose, tradition sayings, and song lyrics. Some of the text ranges from the book of Genesis, to Shakespeare, to Spike Milligan. 

More can be seen about this here.

I also like how Why Not Associates often communicates typography in a poetic way. Here, they break apart the text to show rhythm as well as type it out:

No comments:

Post a Comment