By Sarah Hyndman
I chatted to Louis Bradley of Dazed and Confused Magazine about typographic rebellion and how the ultimate way to rebel against the increasing ubiquity of the sans serif might be to use fonts that provoke a reaction like Comic Sans or Papyrus.
“How to start a revolution with Comic Sans. Could something as simple as font have been the catalyst for the spread of punk or behind Donald Trump’s win? We explore the hidden power of typeface”
The idea that something as simple as typeface can be an integral part of a protest movement might sound a bit far-fetched. But the role of fonts is just as important as actual words in communicating a message to the masses. It’s why you don’t ever stray too far away from Arial or Times New Roman on your CV – you don’t want to come across as too much of an avant-garde loose canon by opting for Lucida Handwriting or Bradley Hand. Or why you don’t commonly use curly script-like letters for your uni essays.
Sarah Hyndman creates workshops and events designed to teach the art of typography and deconstruct the power of design. The ‘Never Mind The Typography’ exhibition outlines how the angst and rebellion of punk was expressed in every fibre of the counterculture, even right down to the lettering. “When punk (and its typeface) arrived in the mid-70s, the design at that point in time was very traditional and old-fashioned, kind of nostalgic and backwards looking,” she explains. It was this reaction to the rigid restrictions of modernism that gave birth to a whole new movement in innovative design. Cast your mind back to the creator of the ransom note style and the Sex Pistols logo Jamie Reid, and the slick layered graphics on British Independent album sleeves created by Barney Bubbles, who also designed the logo for NME magazine. “With all of this comes the layering of meanings, layering of images, often lots of references and subtexts that were put in so you had to be in the know to understand the references. You know from that type style that the album is going to be in a certain rebellious underground – it’s going to have swearing in it, basically.”