grunge.art

September 17th, 2012

Grungey-type — it’s all about David Carson, innit?

The Awl on Grunge Typography via Boing Boing.

mis dont legi take for bility cation communi
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some ray gun covers by David Carsons
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David Carsons Fast Machine
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David Carsons really didn't like Bryan Ferry
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But what about the mostly-pre-digital Terry Jones?

TypographyOnline profile

Okay, so there was some early digital paintbox stuff going on:

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Terry Jones iD magazine -- Complete Covers from Taschen Books
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Video review of Jones’ Instant Design: A Manual of Graphic Techniques

Terry Jones Instant Design (wink) front cover
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Instant Design @ Abe Books

Terry Jones instant design layout
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Terry Jones instant design layout
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The GoogleBooks entry for Instant Design has no pages available, but their poorly-OCR’d text is a joy to behold:

Best known through his own magazine, i-D, but also internationally recognizedor his work with Italian and German Vogue, Donna, Mexx and Fiorucci, Terryones has been one of the most influential graphic designers of the 1980s.is style, rooted in punk, exemplifies much that is characteristic ofontemporary British design. This book, designed by Jones, explores andxplains “instant design”, the use of readily available techniques such ashotocopying, typewriter faces, Polaroids, handwriting, type and pictureistortion, computers and block graphics. Jones’ current work in televisionnotably Reportage and 01 for London) and video is also covered. Hundreds ofxamples show the extraordinary range and creativity of his output. Captionsnd a multi-layered introduction provide the context for some of the decade’sost copied graphics.

Terry Jones instant design layout 3
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Terry Jones Instant Design back cover
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I first ran into this book in 1993 in the library of the School of Applied Arts in Budapest, Hungary. When I returned to the US I got my own copy of it.

Don’t get me wrong — I also had a David Carson book at one point, and do/did appreciate his/that style. I like the use of type-for-types-sake, it ventures into blurring the boundary between text and image a bit more (something dear to my heart), and highlights that text is image, as well. Both of them are beating the image|text dichotomy, bashing it with sledgehammers (or photocopiers and fontshop, I guess) and saying a hearty “f**k you” to linearity and coherence.

I was very much interested in type and graphic design for a time. Ultimately, I realized (very slowly) that I wasn’t particularly talented in that direction. I’m left with a minor understanding of the art, an appreciation for the difficultly, some strongly-held opinions (not much appreciated by my wife, an actual trained, experienced and skilled graphic designer), and the poorly-designed layout of this blog which is more trouble that it is worth to update.

And the nagging suspicion that I should still be blending the visual layouts of my language-based artwork a bit more….


This has got to be a rough draft, but I’ve been sitting on these notes for three weeks without getting much coherence from them. I may update this post, or I may extend these ideas elsewhere….

UPDATE 2013.12.30: Article on The Rise and Fall of Grunge Typography reminds me of P. Scott Makela.

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