Big Type celebrates the joy of supergraphics

Oversized typography gets its day in the sun thanks to Counter-Print’s new book, which examines what it is we love about really big letters

Big Type opens with a brief history of typography, and does a good job of whipping through hundreds of years of developments in design and technology. As it points out, for a long period of time type’s primary function was legibility, but we now live in a drastically different visual landscape.

“Today, type design, influenced by both strides in technology and a dizzying series of artistic 20th century periods, has gained a freedom in terms of composition, size, emphasis, colour, weight, spacing etc that would have been inconceivable before,” writes author and Counter-Print co-founder Jon Dowling.

The book explores this more expressive end of typography, featuring work by Ragged Edge, Astrid Stavro and Pentagram among others. And the type is all, as the title suggests, big.

Projects range from inflatable letters that fill an entire room and towering stone type installations through to branding projects that embrace the impact of oversized typography. Chapters are divided into themes, examining letters that have been stretched, repeated, scaled up and condensed.

As Dowling writes in the intro, these are projects that “lead with type, they play with and subtly animate type or celebrate type’s inherent beauty by putting it centre stage within their designs”.

“These are designs with a strength and conviction intended to cut through the visual noise we encounter everyday and communicate a message, elicit a response or represent a call to action.”

Big Type is published by Counter-Print; counter-print.co.uk

SENIOR DESIGNER

MANCHESTER